Our global economic system is facing a number of crises, which are all entangled in one another. On the one hand we have crises related to the economy – the financial crisis stemming from a greedy indebtedness culture, and falling growth rates in developed countries leading to social insecurity and rising inequality. On the other hand we have crises related to the ecology – global climate changes, natural resource depletion and degradation of nature.
Despite clear evidence that the size of our global economy is no longer in line with our planetary capacity, the discussion about our economic goals and the means to achieve these has been insignificant. Considering the importance of solving these crises, it is about time that we reconsider the way we think about economics.
Mainstream economic theory, which is dominating today’s political thinking, has shown to be deeply flawed – based on assumptions and models too simple to reflect the complexity of reality; leading to the very crises of overexploitation of natural resources, stress, unemployment and social injustice. We are trying to solve the problems with the same tools that have created them.
As a consequence, the discourses on economic growth, competitiveness and productivity are dominating the public debate and the political system, leaving very little space for political visions and innovative solutions. Simple figures and numbers are determining our current view on social development and progress. Political decision-making is driven by the rationale of ‘the politics of necessity’ – the need for so-called responsible economic behaviour. Public and individual decisions are based on what is good for economic growth, and not necessarily on what is good for society, the people and the planet.
Considering the multitude of the crises we are facing, Transition Now sees an urge to speak up and envision alternatives to the current narrow economic paradigm. We have to open our minds for alternative economic approaches and methods.
The main objective for EPP14 is to introduce new ways of thinking economy, enabling people to challenge the present system with the alternatives of tomorrow. At the conference we will discuss and work with emerging solutions and see how they can be modified to a Danish context. We aim to deploy a holistic and trans-disciplinary approach, leading us on the road towards a more sustainable future society.
The idea behind the conference is to create space for deeper discussions. Together with the participants we want to inspire, envision and create a new knowledge foundation of an alternative system scenario – turning the normal public debate about the development of our economy upside-down.
We want to strengthen the debate for a new economic paradigm, which has people and the planet in focus. We believe that the main function of the economy is to ensure human well-being, qualitative progress and prosperity in deep respect of biophysical limits and in a symbiotic relationships with the rest of nature. Hence, we want to present a holistic system approach that accounts for the missing factors of social equity and equality, welfare, real investments, environmental impacts, resources use and preservation of vital ecosystem services, from a local to a global perspective.