Down to Earth: Economics, Politics and Reality

In a critical time for Western economies, investment managers and academicians reflected the presence and future of economics and finance. The aim of the panel discussion was to assess the width of the gap between theoretical and applied economics on the one hand, and analytical practices of innovative capital investors and „practical“ economists on the other hand.

The discussion was held on Thursday, October 6, 2011, 18.00, Hall 314 (Opletalova 26).


  • Dmitry Shemetilo, PhD, CFA, BlackFish Capital/Factor Capital, London
  • Vladimír Benáček, IES FSV, Charles University
  • David Marek, ARX Partners, Prague
  • Michael Rostock-Poplar, CEO, Venture Investors, Prague
  • John Vax, CFA, MT Thaller, Managing Principal, Prague


  • What are the major topics investment managers would like to hear from economists? How different will be the industry and production in 10 (25) years, i.e. in the years beyond the present technology and investment time-horizon? Do we see that globalization failed? Is labor immobility in presence  of unlimited capital mobility a way to troubles? How do we see developments in Europe, US, and China? What should be done? What can be done? What will be done? Who will pay for it?
  • Is Economics a science or just a methodology or an ideology? Do we live in a world where rationality is an essential part of decision-making? Is modern economics a positive or a hidden normative instrument? Are objective functions (maximization of profit, employment, income stability, power, redistribution, felicity) complements or are there relevant trade-offs?
  • Why are so many economic processes now politically driven? Should economics turn back to Political Economy? Is there any rational background for the economic conspiracy hypotheses voiced in the media? Will corruption become a complement of free markets allied with free politics? What to expect? What are the implications of the above for different assets classes? In which areas do we see demand for people with economic education? Which fields of economics can be expected
    to gain in prestige and relevance?

The discussion was in English without simultaneous translation.


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McKinsey & Company