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Patrick Bond lectures on degrowth in Berlin, 16 September

Wednesday, 16th of September 2015, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m..
6th Floor, Room 6.01, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Hiroshimastr. 28, 10785 Berlin

At the core of the multifaceted crisis that currently affects our societies lies the neoliberal economic model, which overexploits resources – both natural and human. It is partially responsible for triggering three forms of violence: The violence against the earth, which becomes evident in the climate crisis; the violence against the human, which is reflected in extreme poverty and a loss of capabilities; and thirdly, the violence against each other, seen in the emergence of war and conflicts as well as in the rise of inequalities between and within states.

Since the economic and financial crisis in 2008, resistance to neoliberalism from civil society, academia, as well as outspoken critics has mounted. The critics are suggesting that neoliberalism is not only ill-equipped in providing sustainable and adequate standards of living for mankind, but also accentuating the limitations of economic value. This currency, it is argued, is blind with regard to social and human values as it solely acknowledges
and measures productivity as defined in economic terms.

We can observe that the legitimacy of economic value is increasingly
questioned due to its measurement of wealth without reflecting
environmental and social impacts. In order to allow for a transformation to
more sustainable societies, it is essential to identify concepts which
highlight the significance of social value and integrate a balanced reflection
of wealth of nature and society.

Several alternatives are currently being debated. The just transition for
instance is a framework for a fair and sustainable shift to a low carbon
economy proposed by trade unions and supported by environmental NGOs.

The de-growth concept is rooted in ecological economics and anticonsumerist ideas, while the green economy, presented at the Rio+ Conference attempts to reconcile economic growth with a low-carbon society. Approaches from feminist economists focus on the concept of care
for transforming the existing economic rationality.

By bringing together care and environmental experts, trade unionists, and
activists from the Global South as well as from the Global North, we are
aiming at identifying consensus as well as differences of the alternative
pathways and visions developed and advocated by these actors. This
platform for exchange should allow for deeper insights into the alternatives
and sensitizing for each other’s vantage points. The question, to which
extent strategic alliances between different stakeholders are possible and
helpful for fostering change, will be at the heart of the final debate.


10:00 Welcome & Introduction
 Cäcilie Schildberg, FES

10:20 Visions of transitions
1. Just Transition
 Alison Tate, ITUC, Belgium
2. Degrowth
 Patrick Bond, University of Durban, South Africa
3. Commons
 Friederike Habermann, Researcher, Germany
4. Social business
 Patrick Andrews, New Forest Advisory LLP; Riversimple, UK

13:00 Lunch (on 6th floor)

14:30 A feminist vision: A caring and sustainable economy
Daniela Gottschlich, Humboldt University Berlin,

15:00 Dividing Gulfs & Common Grounds

15:45 Coffee/Tea Break

16:15 How to move on? How to build up strategic alliances?

16:50 Wrap-up and Conclusions

17:00 Reception

18:00 End of the program

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