The cross-border flow of capital arising from transnational organisations up until the early 21st century, has seen a locus of power concentrated in Europe and the United States. But times they are a changin’, and a cohort of scholars and activists from the Asian, Australian and Oceanic regions want to know how, why, and what this shifting power means for the future of wealth in the region.

The Network for Critical Studies of Global Capitalism will host the 2013 ‘Global Capitalism in Asia and Oceania’ conference at Brisbane’s Griffith University on 28 and 29 June to address these questions, and to dissect the lack of understanding and knowledge that underpins the rhetoric of those outside Asia with concerns such as ‘the Asian Century’, the ‘rise of Asia’ and the need for organisations to employ ‘Asia relevant capabilities’.

Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing (WOW) researcher, and conference Organising Committee member, Associate Professor Georgina Murray suggests the path to quelling such idioms can be paved by researchers, businesses and stakeholders alike with efforts to first understand what capitalism is, where it operates, and what it can do. “Neoliberal thinking is of the borderless world, but this denies the role of the nation-state”, Georgina says. “It will always have a role in capitalism [however] because there is a need to organise labour, tax and infrastructure for workers”.

Associate Professor Murray points out that the catalyst for this year’s conference lay in part with the work on China by one of the keynote speakers in a 2012 publication she edited with colleague John Scott (Plymouth University), Financial Elites and Transnational Business (Edward Elgar). Opening speaker Professor Jerry Harris (DeVry University, and founding member of the Network) considered the changing dynamics of wealth in the new Chinese market known as ‘Asian Capitalism’, in his chapter. This raised further questions by those critiquing global capitalism, concerning in particular the implications of this progressive shift in power–of which the Chinese government is a key player–for global and domestic economic and social relationships.

Georgina further underlines that the Organising Committee’s decision to bring the conference to Australia was fuelled by the opportunity to leverage domestic and region-specific considerations with localised expertise. Another keynote speaker, Dr Han Dongyun brings an intimate knowledge of the role of Chinese capital–pertinent for its volume of wealth and pattern of work–in her address to this year’s conference. Dr Han is also the Academic Editor of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences journal, International Critical Thought.

Director of the Indo-Pacific Governance Research Centre at the University of Adelaide, Professor Kanishka Jayasuriya, will address participants on state capitalism and governance, underpinned by his expert knowledge of ‘East Asian capital’ and Sri Lanka.

Registrations are open for this two day event–$250 AUD, including meals, conference dinner, and a ‘Radical Brisbane’ tour. Student/ unwaged registration–$125 AUD.

The Network for Critical Studies of Global Capitalism acknowledge the support of conference sponsors: the Centre for Work, Organisation and Wellbeing; the School of Humanities; the Dean of Research: Arts, Education and Law Group; and conference co-organiser, Monash University. Visit the conference website for further details.