Key Note: Erik Olin Wright
Real Utopias as a pathway to an alternative future
The expansion of markets and pressures for endless growth in material consumption are not contingent features of a dynamic capitalist economy; they are intrinsic to an economy rooted in the competitive drive for profits and capital accumulation. Any serious effort to counteract these dynamics, therefore, must also attempt to transcend capitalism. But how is this possible? While capitalism has become more destructive both to the lives of people and the health of the environment, it seems to most people either to be an unalterable force of nature or to be backed by unassailably powerful social forces. Social democratic hopes of taming capitalism by neutralizing its harmful effects through decisive state regulations have been undermined by the globalization and financialization of capital. Revolutionary ambitions of smashing capitalism through a ruptural seizure of state power, a coercive dissolution of capitalist institutions and their replacement by an emancipatory alternative, lack credibility. Are these the only logics of transformation? There may be a different route that points beyond capitalism: eroding capitalism by building emancipatory alternatives to capitalism in the spaces and cracks within capitalist economies and struggling to defend and expand those spaces.
Key Note: Monika Griefahn
Act, but act positive – to face the
challenges of our times
The world and our life on it face a lot of challenges – ecologically as well as in terms of human rights, democracy and health. People can be change makers and solve problems. This is my personal experience of about 40 years of commitment to make the world better. During my journey of life I found at every state and every level people who wanted the same and who committed themselves to improve the world, too. There is always somebody who cares. I started out as an environmental activist, went into politics and am now working for the economy without fundamentally having changed my aim to improve the world’s situation – for itself and for the people living on it.
My manual to chance the world for the better is as follows:
- Work together. Talking is better than threatening each other.
- Be constructive. Just saying no might be a beginning. A solution it is not.
- Be persistent. Rome wasn’t built in one day.
- Find consensus. Only then decisions have a real support and can be lasting.
- Listen to your inner desire – it is the best advisor you have.
Never lose sight of your aim. If you feel weak, turn to your allies. You are many