Our economy must serve our social needs and respect planetary boundaries. But this is currently not the case: we are on an unsustainable path. Our economic activities have contributed to societies growing more unequal across various dimensions, depriving some of meeting their basic human needs and putting political systems under stress. Our economic activities are also responsible for progressing climate change, environmental degradation, and the loss of biodiversity, putting the earth’s natural capital at high risk. Our future depends on our ability to transform the economic system – to take on stewardship with our collective goals in mind. This program is about the socio-economic transformation. We will explore how we can transform our current economic system in a way that meets human social needs without undermining the integrity and stability of the environment.
An economic transformation that serves social wellbeing within planetary boundaries requires an investigation of new paradigms for economics. Orthodox economic theory is based on characteristics that stand in contrast to these goals, for example individualism, socially disengaged behaviour, utility-based well-being, or progress as economic growth. In a workshop series and a fellowship program, we will explore alternative paradigms.
A socio-economic transformation also requires reliable measures of prosperity so that we can evaluate if we reached our economic, social and environmental goals. Businesses also have a responsibility for reporting their contribution to society and the planet, and not just to shareholders. In our fellowship program on the Measurement of Prosperity, we will develop a normative dashboard of indicators for the economic, social, and environmental domains. We will also collect disaggregated statistics that fall within these domains. As a result, discussions about the normative framework of a dashboard will be connected with the actual provision of indicators.
Against the background of rapid proliferation of digital technologies, it is an urgent task to ensure that the rules of the digital economy are directed at public interest and the common good. Our Global Initiative for Digital Empowerment (GIDE) will bring new concepts and diverse international partners to an increasingly complex digital governance agenda. The program assembles pivotal policy makers and institutions of influence to develop a humanistic model of digital governance.
Through our collaboration with the Global Solutions Initiative and engagement with global policy advisory processes for the G7 and G20, other aspects pertinent to the economic transformation agenda will also be tackled in this program.