Metamorphosis of Values Beyond Capitalism: War Economy and Democratic Planning

In the face of the unfolding planetary catastrophe, how can we establish a more egalitarian and sustainable society through a democratically structured “war economy” and a corresponding new notion of freedom and progress?


Metamorphosis of Values Beyond Capitalism: War Economy and Democratic Planning

In the face of the unfolding planetary catastrophe, how can we establish a more egalitarian and sustainable society through a democratically structured “war economy” and a corresponding new notion of freedom and progress?

Jan Hoeft, Processes, 2022, Courtesy of the artist | Find out more


We are heading towards a planetary catastrophe with full speed. Free markets, economic growth, and technological progress, once supposed to be rational, efficient, and emancipatory, now threaten human civilization. In 1919, Otto Neurath rejected the “pseudorationality” of a market economy, arguing for the need to install a “war economy” not based on monetary exchange. In addition to pandemics, inflation, and wars which also characterized Neurath’s time, we are witnessing a climate crisis which accelerates the polycrisis. The Anthropocene therefore calls for new concrete visions to overcome the “pseudorationality” of the current system.

In the face of the polycrisis, neoliberal market fundamentalism is no longer acceptable, and correspondingly, there is an increasing demand for radically rethinking conventional values such as “market freedom” and “eternal economic growth.”

The war economy in the Anthropocene puts forward two antitheses against the capitalist optimism: “planning” and “degrowth.”

The obvious dilemma arises due to the incompatibility between the bottom-up and horizontal approach of degrowth and the top-down approach of economic planning under the war economy. In order to overcome this dilemma, this research program explores the rich but marginalized tradition of degrowth, socialism, ecofeminism, and post-development.

By drawing on various forms of democratic planning in theory and practice, we aim to explore new avenues of value creation for social well-being that go against and beyond the capitalist concept of value as endless profit maximization. We will work along three dimensions:

  1. how is it possible to secure and even deepen democracy under war economy?
  2. how can social and individual freedom flourish despite the obvious necessity to strictly follow social and ecological planning?, and
  3. what would prosperity and development mean in life after capitalism?

Kohei Saito
University of Tokyo

Kohei is a distinguished Japanese philosopher, renowned for his work on the dialectics of nature in Karl Marx's thought. His interpretation of Marx's unpublished scientific notebooks has revitalized debates around ecology and capitalism. Kohei's scholarship, exemplified in his book Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism: Capital, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy, (NYU Press, 2017), integrates ecological concerns with social theory, offering vital perspectives on contemporary environmental crises.

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  • Who are we looking for?

    Scholars from the humanities and social sciences or practitioners in politics, business, art, media, or journalism with a commitment to the mission of THE NEW INSTITUTE, and interest in collaborating across our programs. Individuals with expertise in degrowth and political ecology, as well as those working in fields of qualitative and quantitative research, e.g., with backgrounds in heterodox economics or radical philosophy are especially encouraged to apply.

  • Number of persons sought

    3-4 fellows per term for the academic year 2024/25.

  • Tasks – What do fellows do?

    Actively participate in the collaborative fellow work concerning the program. Take part and contribute to weekly interdisciplinary and trans-sectoral fellow meetings.

  • Facts & Figures

    Call closes: November 30, 2023, 12 pm CET
    Funding period: Fellows can apply for either one, two, or three terms:

    • Fall term: Mid Sep – Mid Dec, 2024
    • Winter term: Mid Jan – End of March, 2025
    • Spring term: May – June, 2025
  • Funding

    Stipends or teaching buy-outs are calculated relative to applicants career stage.

  • Location

    Fellows are required to be present at THE NEW INSTITUTE in Hamburg at least four days a week during the respective term.

  • Housing

    Fully furnished and equipped studios are provided mostly on the premises of THE NEW INSTITUTE at the Warburg Ensemble in Hamburg. 80% subsidy for rent and utilities will be provided on top of the stipend. Depending on availability, we can offer more spacious accommodations for fellows with family members who plan to stay longer than three months.

  • Meals

    Breakfasts and lunches will be provided on weekdays during the terms, dinners once a week. A monthly contribution of 400 Euro will be deducted from the stipend.

  • Selection Process

    Fellow selection follows a two-stage selection process: After an initial review of applications, we select candidates for zoom interviews that will take place from Jan 9-11, 2024.


How to apply

Please send your application - as a single PDF file - to

  • Letter of motivation (3 pages max), including statement of relevant fit to the call
  • CV (please include in header: current address/time zone, current affiliation, last university or higher education degree, institution from which you received the degree, year of receipt of degree, nationality, gender, cell phone number, and indication of which terms you are applying for)

The deadline for applications is on November 30, 2023, 12 pm CET
Questions may be directed to

Download the call as a pdf here.


THE NEW INSTITUTE strives to create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected. Diversity in our fellowship programs is important to us. We welcome people regardless of social and geographic origins, religion, skin color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability or other legally protected characteristics.



On the basis of humanistic and social-scientific reflection on human becoming in the 21st century, THE NEW INSTITUTE develops concrete visions of future socio-economic and political realities. We gather thinkers and practitioners with interdisciplinary and intercultural backgrounds in academia, politics, business, media, the arts, and technology around projects that effect positive social change.


In Jan Hoeft's "Processes 2022," a sprawling 42-meter installation of traffic signs, intricate pathways of arrows intersect and intertwine, inviting contemplation on the multifaceted dynamics of our society. Numerous hands engage with these arrows, guiding, restraining, and accompanying their trajectory - a visual metaphor for the complex evolution of ideas and emotions. Through this monumental work, Hoeft encapsulates the paradoxical nature of contemporary existence, where order and disorder coalesce, mirroring the complex socio-economic landscape we seek to decipher and transform.

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