In contemporary times, the centuries old process of economic and cultural globalization – that commenced seriously several centuries ago with European explorations, settlements and imperial conquests – has not ended, but has entered troubled waters. Brexit; assertive American, Russian and selective East European nationalisms; China flexing econo-military muscle; and major regional conflicts – these are all affecting established patterns of trade, investment, migration and cultural exchanges.

These two panels will explore current challenges to markets, consumers and citizens in these turbulent times.



Fri, July 6, 9.30 – 11.00


Marketing Scholars in a Hyper Consumerized World

Development has meant many things to many people, expert and lay alike.  Economic development and its impact on the standard of material living is palpable and visible.  Increased availability and increased choices provide a sense of freedom, power and entitlement.  The unintended consequences – negative externalities in multiple fronts – are harder to locate at the individual level and therefore difficult to transform collective behaviors.  The role of marketing scholars needs greater scrutiny as the contradictions between our research and practice keep diverging. The contribution to this discussion will be mostly from my perspective of being a scholar from an emerging market, trained in the U.S., interested in the development of emerging markets while attempting to be a scholar in a distant location.  It reflects my concern of scholars located in the more affluent countries influencing or failing to influence scholarship and practice in the emerging and aspiring countries.

Ruby R. Dholakia is the first president of ISMD. She chaired the ISMD conference in New Delhi in 1991. An established scholar in macromarketing and household technology impacts, she is Professor Emerita at the University of Rhode Island.


The Future Unsustainability of the Market

The market, which eventually became the most dominant institution of modern culture and is central to the contemporary form of globalization, has fostered the growth of consumer culture, neoliberal ideology, and the iconographic culture, all of which have characteristics that negate the possibility of sustainable development. I intend to elaborate on the history of the development of the market and the potential future if this history’s direction is extrapolated into the future.  I see significant developments in the nature of market capitalism, trends that technologically and politically are eventually set to eliminate the human from the equation and make the corporations the active agents in culture.  I wish to discuss the potential consequences if these trends continue and the possible other futures in case disruptive developments occur.

Fuat Firat launched the ISMD conference series, by organizing the first conference in Istanbul in 1986. He became the second president of ISMD after it was founded. He is a professor in the Robert C. Vackar College of Business & Entrepreneurship, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. His research on consumption patterns, using cultural critique and political economic analysis, is recognized globally.


Globalization in the Perspective of Global Trends, Institutions and Global Value Chains

Is the  present anti-globalization campaign a bump on the road or it signaling a systemic failure? We shall view these questions from outlining the major global trends related to increased globalization of the economy, lack of institutions building, multiple technological opportunities, and a new global sustainability agenda. It seems that the countervailing power mechanisms of the global economy is  in disorder, endangering both global living and the environment.

Olav J. Sorensen is the cofounder of NOMAD Bulletin, the precursor newsletter that led to ISMD conferences and later to the creation of the ISMD organization – which he co-founded and presided over in the 1990s. Olav is Professor at International Business Centre of Aalborg University. He took part in numerous research projects mostly in direct relation with the business community – regionally and internationally, working closely with universities in China, Vietnam, Ghana and Tanzania.



Pia Polsa is the Executive Director of ISMD. She has been a president of ISMD and chaired the ISMD Conference in Casablanca in 2012. She is a professor at Hanken School, Helsinki. Her research includes grocery retailing and consumer behaviour in China and sustainable poverty alleviating business models in India. Her current research interests are poverty, service and relationship marketing at non-profit settings like health care in developing countries, international marketing channels, and cross-cultural methodology.



Saturday, July 7, 9.00 – 10.30


Technological Transformation and Its Impact on Employment

Digital technologies (the internet, artificial intelligence, robotics) have either already become widely used, or are expected to diffuse in ways that will fundamentally change how businesses and economies operate. Moldova has an opportunity to position itself to take advantage of technological change and the ongoing digital transformation. The future potential of digitization to create jobs in Moldova is not fully realized, primarily due to the low level of digitization of the economy beyond the core ICT industry. At the same time, there is a risk of job losses and of significant changes in the skills demanded by employers in the coming two decades. There is little consensus globally about what can be done to respond, beyond proposing two basic principles: investing in skills, and promoting the adoption of those technologies. Workers who have an appropriate mix of skills, ranging from the foundational skills to more advanced soft skills and technical skills will likely be better prepared to face technological change. And even though digital technologies might pose challenges to employment, they are also the means for economies to remain and become more productive and competitive.

Anna Akhalkatsi is the head of the World Bank Office in Moldova. Anna has extensive work experience within the International Financial Corporation and the World Bank. Anna worked in the Strategy Unit within International Financial Corporation’s Central and Eastern Europe Department on the development of regional, country and sector strategies. She has also rich experience in private sector development, investment, and structural reforms across the World Bank Group.


Catching Up with Globalization and Relying on EU Integration

A small country must pursue its interest and development goals in a more globalizing world, where big economic powers make the market. What did Moldova gain so far from globalization and at what cost?  Challenges are big – migration, low productivity, weak infrastructure, climate change.  However, globalization brings more opportunities than threats and direct the economy to a new pass of human development, technology and industrialization. Young generations shall benefit the most from forthcoming changes while government priorities shall explore those opportunities and set course for sustainable growth and development.

Octavian Armasu is the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Moldova. He is also a coordinator of several governmental and inter-ministerial negotiation groups with international donor organizations. Octavian has experience and expertise in corporate finance, financial management, financial analysis and control, and IT management. Before joining the Government, Octavian was financial director and CEO of Sudzucker Moldova SA that is part of Sudzucker International GmbH.


Only by Being Genuinely Local Will Globalisation – or Global Cooperation – Survive

All politics is ultimately local. Unless globalisation delivers locally, societies and economies will close in on themselves and re-erect the barriers which have been dismantled over the past 50 years. That does not simply mean that globalisation needs a local veneer – such as providing culturally-sensitive goods and services. It involves making real changes for the better – for instance investing for the long-term to ensure that good jobs are available locally. It means respecting local and national democracy and not riding roughshod over decisions taken, however inconvenient they are. Importantly it also means being seen to make a proper contribution to local services through taxation. Nothing discredits globalisation more than the beneficiaries using their financial clout to rig the rules even more in their favour and to wriggle out of their social responsibilities. I will argue that an important way to ensure that we are not seeing the tail end of globalisation – or global cooperation – is to support local entrepreneurs and ensure that the financial markets work properly for SMEs everywhere. The result – locally-owned businesses, employing local people, paying taxes locally – but operating within a global market.

Jeremy Lefroy is Member of the UK Parliament since May 6th 2010. From 1989 to 2000, he and his family lived in Tanzania where he worked in the coffee industry. On returning to the UK, he worked assisting smallholder farmers in East Africa, until his election to Parliament in 2010. In October 2016, Jeremy was elected to serve on the cross-party ‘Exiting the European Union Committee’. Jeremy is also Chair of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF.



Romeo V. Turcan is Professor of International Entrepreneurship and Organization Studies at Aalborg University in Denmark. Romeo coordinates a number of research and policy oriented projects. In 2012 he founded and launched the Theory Building Research Programme. Romeo has also coordinated large EU funded projects. Romeo has business and executive experience in power, oil, military high-tech, management consulting, and NGO sectors.

Technical University of Moldova is proud to host the 15TH ISMD Biannual Conference. The ISMD conference will bring state-of-the art research of the impact of technology, markets, development and sustainability on globalization. We look forward to receiving your submissions.