As many of you know, we have finally recovered from a few Covid setbacks—one cancellation in 2020 and two makeup summer meetings in Minneapolis in 2021 and Madison in 2022. Normally, after three years in the job, I would be handing over the reins to the next President, in this case, Juan Pablo (“JuanPa”) Nicolini. However, despite having the two fabulous interim meetings, we are back to our original pre-Covid plan. To ensure a smooth succession, JuanPa and I will both be involved in overseeing the Society for the next three years—including writing biannually about the Society news.
In other news, we are pleased to announce that Elena Manresa and Alessandra Fogli have agreed to chair next year’s meeting in Barcelona. This meeting was originally scheduled for 2020, then rescheduled for 2021, and then rescheduled for 2024. The local organizers—Jordi Caballe, Joan Llull, Albert Marcet, and Raul Santaeulalia-Llopis—are excited to finally host the event, and we expect a large number of submissions. We recommend that everyone start working hard now on papers to submit later this year. We’ll provide further details in the November newsletter, so stay tuned.
Another big news item this Spring is an upcoming change on the officer page: Paulina Restrepo-Echavarria will be taking over for Marina Azzimonti as Secretary of the Society. The job of Secretary and Treasurer (currently Todd Schoellman) is actually much bigger than that of President. Both have seven year terms so that there is institutional knowledge being passed along. They also take charge of day-to-day operations. As Secretary, Marina has brought an enormous amount of energy to the job and should be credited with bringing us into the modern era through live streaming and social media. (We did have one very bad zoom-bomb incident in Minneapolis when Marina was not with us, but Guido Menzio seemed to take that in stride.) Fortunately for us, Paulina is dedicated to Marina’s mission, and we look forward to working with her.
“Power and Progress” by Acemoglu and Johnson is a compelling critique of the narrative that equates technological advancement with human progress. The authors argue that this narrative is often propagated for private profit rather than public good. They undertake an expansive exploration of the past millennium, examining how those in power have historically shaped narratives to their advantage, and how ordinary citizens have challenged these power structures to share the benefits of technology more equitably. The book also highlights the rise of social exclusion and inequality, linking these issues to continuous technological development that disproportionately benefits a narrow elite. The authors propose a three-pronged approach for repurposing digital technology for the benefit of all. This book offers a timely, critical analysis of the intersection of power, technology, and progress, and is a must-read for those interested in the societal implications of technological development.