Global economies discussed during talks at WMU

Contact: Deanne Puca

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The strength of various global economies and the effects of democracy will be discussed during a series of three lectures this week and next on the campus of Western Michigan University.

Sponsored by the WMU Department of Political Science, the events are free and open to the public.

About the talks

  • Dr. William Keech, Research Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Political Science at Duke University will speak on "Meritocracy and Democracy; China and the United States" at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, March 31, in the Political Science Library, 3301 Friedmann Hall. Since 1972, the People’s Republic of China has gone from being an arch enemy of the United States to being a friendly rival, but it is far from clear that China will evolve into the general pattern of association between capitalist economic and democratic political systems. This talk explores arguments and the merits and drawbacks of each system and critiques democracy, and especially the American variety, while defending China’s system of government not as authoritarian but as a meritocracy. 
  • Dr. David Samuels, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota and co-editor of Comparative Political Studies, will speak about "Inequality and Democratic Survival" at 3:30 p.m., Tuesday, April 5, in the Political Science Library, 3301 Friedmann Hall. Conventional wisdom holds that democracy endures in rich countries but is unstable in poor ones. Samuels suggests that the sources of democratic stability lie not just with a country’s aggregate level of wealth, but also with its distribution. 
  • Samuels also will speak on "Changing Brazil: A Glass Half Full?" at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Putney Auditorium of the Fetzer Center. After a period early this century in which it looked like Brazil turned the corner and set a course that joined political stability with economic growth, the past two years have brought a return of economic decline and political indecision. Samuels will discuss explanations for Brazil's turn for the worse and the likely future of its president and the long-governing Workers' Party.

For more news, arts and events, visit