Hosted by the Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought

Presented in conjunction with the Alexander Hamilton Society and the Columbia University Journal for Politics & Society

Throughout the country, and the world, the coronavirus has devastated small businesses. Thousands have already shuttered their doors, and millions more face closure and bankruptcy in the coming  and months. The effects of the economic decline are being felt most severely by small business owners and the communities they serve—especially those that are already most underserved, such as rural areas and poor urban neighborhoods. The trend only accelerates global inequality and provides big business with additional opportunities for expansion.

The Undergraduate Committee on Global Thought will host a panel discussion on the plight of small businesses as a result of the coronavirus and concurrent recession. Panelists include CGT Member Saskia Sassen, CGT Senior Research Scholar Perry Mehrling, the Hon. Elizabeth S. Stong, and World Bank Adviser Antonia Menezes.

Part of Rethinking the World, a programmatic series from the Committee on Global Thought exploring the challenges and opportunities inherent in our unique global moment of compounding crises as well as unforeseen opportunities for creative solutions. For information on other events in the series, click here.


Saskia Sassen

Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of SociologySaskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. Her research and writing focuses on globalization (including social, economic and political dimensions), immigration, global cities (including cities and terrorism), the new technologies, and changes within the liberal state that result from current transnational conditions. Sassen's interests include urban sociology, the sociology of transnational processes and globalization, technology, the dynamics of powerlessness in urban contexts and migration.

In each of the three major projects that comprise her 20 years of research, Sassen starts with a thesis that posits the unexpected and the counterintuitive in order to cut through established “truths”.

Her first multi-year project led to The Mobility of Labor and Capital (Cambridge University Press, 1988). Her thesis is that foreign investment in less developed countries can actually raise the likelihood of emigration if it goes to labor-intensive sectors and/or devastates the traditional economy; this went against established notions that such investment would retain potential emigrants.

Professor Sassen's most recent book is a joint publication with Mary Kaldor entitled Cities at War: Global Insecurity and Urban Resistance.

Perry Mehrling

Perry Mehrling is Professor of International Political Economy at the Pardee School of Global Studies, Boston University, where he teaches courses on the economics of money and banking, the history of money and finance, and international money, the first of these is available online.

Perry G. Mehrling was a member of the faculty of Barnard College from 1987-2018, where he taught courses on the economics of money and banking, the history of money and finance, and the financial dimensions of the U.S. retirement, health, and education systems.

He is the author of The New Lombard Street: How the Fed became the Dealer of Last Resort (Princeton 2011), Fischer Black and the Revolutionary Idea of Finance (Wiley 2005, 2012), and The Money Interest and the Public Interest (Harvard 1997).  Recent papers and video are available on his website, “one stop shopping for all things ‘money view’”.

He currently serves on the Academic Council of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, and has served as visiting professor at the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, University of Nice, Paris X (Nanterre), and the Sloan School of Management, MIT.

The Honorable Elizabeth S. Stong

Elizabeth S. Stong has served as U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of New York since 2003. Previously, she was a litigation partner and associate at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, a litigation associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, and a law clerk to Hon. David Mazzone, U.S. District Judge in the District of Massachusetts.

Judge Stong is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the ABA Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and also serves as a member of the Council of the American Law Institute, the Board of Trustees of the Practising Law Institute, the Board of Directors of the International Insolvency Institute, and the Board of Directors of P.R.I.M.E Finance. She is also the Co-Chair of the New York City Bar’s Council on the Profession, and Co-Chair of the New York Fellows of the American Bar Foundation. Judge Stong represents the American Bar Association Judicial Division’s National Conference of Federal Trial Judges in the ABA’s House of Delegates, and also serves on the ABA’s Standing Committee on Pro Bono and Public Service and the Council of the ABA Business Law Section. In October 2016, she will serve as Honorary Chair of Mediation Settlement Day, a nationwide event that she helped to establish in 2001.

Antonia Menezes

Antonia Menezes is a Senior Financial Sector Specialist with the Insolvency & Debt Resolution Team of the World Bank Group based in Washington D.C. The focus of her work is providing technical assistance and advice to governments on insolvency and debt resolution reforms, including legal aspects of NPL management, with a particular emphasis on work in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia. She has assisted more than 50 countries in reforming and strengthening their insolvency and creditor/debtor regimes.

Ms. Menezes has published widely in the field of insolvency and represents the World Bank Group at Working Group V (Insolvency) of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). She is also a Co-Chair of the World Bank Group Insolvency & Creditor/Debtor Regimes (ICR) Task Force, which is responsible for testing and evaluating the effectiveness of the World Bank Group ICR Principles.