New Economic Theory Project Progress Report

New Economic Theory

Project leaders: Orio Giarini, Ivo Šlaus, & Garry Jacobs

A. Background

  1. In December 2009 Ivo Šlaus convened a small group of Fellows consisting of Orio Giarini, Garry Jacobs and later Bernard Lietaer to discuss the need for new economic theory and feasibility of formulating a broad approach outlining the issues and perspectives that it should include.
  2. Over the following three months there was an intensive exchange of questions and ideas, which gradually evolved into the outlines of an article. The group drew extensively on original theoretical work done by Orio Giarini and published in two reports to the Club of Rome, Dialogue on Wealth and Welfare (1980) and Limits to Rationality (1991), which at the time had not received the full attention they merited.
  3. In May 2010 the group met in Trieste to sketch the outlines of a project on new economic theory and also agreed to establish Cadmus journal as an organ to project new thought related to the fields of economics and governance.
  4. The group agreed that new economic theory requires the parallel development of new economic measures. Therefore, side by side with the theoretical discussions, Garry Jacobs and Ivo Šlaus evolved the framework for a new measure of economic progress, the Human Economic Welfare Index, incorporating measures for real household consumption and savings, inequality, unemployment, health, education and energy sustainability.
  5. The first issue of Cadmus which came out in October 2010 carried an article entitled “Introductory Paper for a Programme on The Wealth of Nations Revisited” and a companion article “Indicators of Economic Progress: The Power of Measurement and Human Welfare” by Garry Jacobs and Ivo Šlaus.
  6. A special SEED-WAAS website for New Economic Theory was created to become a focal point for this project.
  7. Meanwhile, Ian Johnson, the recently appointed new Secretary General of Club of Rome, wrote expressing appreciation for the article and requesting the authors to present a summary of their findings at the Club’s annual conference in Winterthur in October 2010.
  8. Numerous meetings between Ivo Šlaus, Ian Johnson, Orio Giarini and Garry Jacobs took place in January, February and September 2011.
  9. An article by Orio Giarini “Science and Economics: The Case of Uncertainty and Disequilibrium” appeared in Cadmus issue 2 in April 2011 together with an article by Winston Nagan on “Human Rights, Liberty and Socio-Economic Justice”, an article by Hazel Henderson “Grossly Distorted Picture: GDP Still Misleading” and an editorial on “The Great Divorce: Economics & Philosophy”.
  10. Cadmus Issue 3 (October 2011) includes articles by Roberto Peccei on “Rethinking Growth: The Need for New Economics”, by Hazel Henderson on “Real Economics and the Illusions of Abstraction” and an extensive study by Orio Giarini and Garry Jacobs on the significance of the evolution of agrarian and industrial economy to the modern service economy and the implications for measurement of economic value, “The Evolution of Wealth & Human Security: The Paradox of Value and Uncertainty”.
  11. Roberto Peccei, Orio Giarini, Ivo Šlaus and Garry Jacobs participated in presentations and discussions on new economic theory as part of the Club of Rome-WAAS conference in Delhi in November 2011.
  12. A seminar was conducted at the Club of Rome-WAAS conference in Delhi in November 2011. During 2012 WAAS collaborated with Club of Rome in three conferences organized in Geneva, Rotterdam and Bucharest. 
  13. During the first half of 2012, WAAS has continued to develop its collaboration with the Club of Rome on New Economic Theory. A joint CoR-WAAS paper entitled “Crises & Opportunities: A Manifesto for Change” by Ian Johnson and Garry Jacobs was presented and discussed during a one day CoR-organized seminar in Rotterdam on May 9, and will appear in the next issue of Cadmus. The document stresses that the economic, ecological, social, political and security crises that humanity confronts today can be traced back to common factors and root causes and can only be successfully addressed by instituting fundamental changes in the values, policies and institutions that underpin the global economic system.
  14. Following the conference, Maria da Graca Carvalho, WAAS Trustee and member of the European Parliament, organized two meetings with a representative of the European Commission’s Bureau of Economic Policy, who expressed serious interest in our perspective and proposed to organize further discussions with the EC. An article tracing the development of Orio Giarini’s economic thought, “Limits to Growth to Limitless Growth”, appeared in Cadmus Issue 4.
  15. Values are not merely utopian ideals – they have the power to change the world. Values define us and the institutions we create. They contain the quintessence of wisdom acquired by successive generations regarding the essential requirements for higher levels of human accomplishment. On June 18-20, WAAS participated in a CoR workshop in Bristol which launched a new initiative to explore the values underpinning the last two centuries of global achievements and crises in search of a new and better narrative to guide humanity’s progress in the 21st century.
  16. Another article by Fellow Jesus Felipe of Asian Development Bank on “Inclusive Growth”, emphasizing the essential role of employment in developing countries, also appeared in Cadmus Issue 4.
  17. The continuing financial crisis dramatically highlights the need for greater understanding of monetary and financial systems. Cadmus Issue 4 also includes an article proposing an alternative “Solution for the Greek Financial Crisis.” In May, WAAS Fellow Bernard Lietaer co-authored a major report on Money and Sustainability: the Missing Link, published by the EU Chapter of Club of Rome. WAAS co-sponsored the First International Social Transformation Conference in Split, Croatia on July 10-12 in the City of Split (Croatia) focusing on alternative monetary models. Plans are now underway to launch an inquiry into the fundamental role of money in social development in collaboration with CoR member David Korten, commencing with a web-seminar and e-conference in the fall and a conference in 2013.
  18. The Trieste Forum was organised by WAAS and coorganised by The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS), The Trieste International Foundation for the Progress and Freedom of Sciences, The International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), The Risk Institute and The Mother’s Service Society on March 4-7 2013. Recognizing the need for a new paradigm of human development, the Trieste Forum called for a trans-disciplinary theory of social change and evolution. The international conference on “Opportunities and Challenges of the 21st Century: Search for a New Paradigm” which the World Academy and the United Nations coorganized at Palais des Nations in Geneva on June 3, 2013, was the second in a series of WAAS events that evolved the outlines for a new paradigm of global security and development. Presentations explored comprehensive strategies to address four interdependent clusters of issues related to economy and employment, energy and ecology, human capital, governance and international security. Building on the insights and momentum of the Geneva conference, a small group of WAAS Fellows and invited participants from the region met in Alexandria on June 5th and 6th to review the conclusions of the Geneva conference and search for an underlying framework for a new paradigm for global peace and development. 
  19. The World Academy launched an initiative to bring together like-minded organizations and individuals to examine the root causes of the multiple challenges confronting humanity today and formulate a comprehensive strategy for addressing them. Its central premise is that viable, effective solutions can be found to meet the entire spectrum of economic, ecological, political and social challenges by formulation of an integrated perspective, comprehensive strategy and detailed policy framework attuned to the realities, needs and emerging opportunities of the 21st century. WAAS recently conducted an e-seminar, a conference co-organized with the UN in Geneva and a workshop at Library of Alexandria in June 2013. The issue of how global food security, full employment and abolition of poverty can be achieved within a decade was discussed during the Ottawa Roundtable on “Opportunities & Challenges for the 21st Century: Need for a New Paradigm” in September 2013.
  20. In April 2014, project leaders from WAAS and CoR met with a senior official of the ILO in Geneva and agreed to jointly organize a seminar on the global employment challenge with ILO in the fall.
  21. The previous year, WAAS conducted conferences on the New Paradigm at the UN in Geneva, Library of Alexandria, Berkeley, ICTP Trieste,Washington DC & Ottawa. The next step was to convene a preparatory meeting in Baku on April 30 & May 1, immediately following conclusion of the conference on Shared Societies which was jointly organized by Club of Madrid and the Nizami Ganjavi International Center of Azerbaijan. A conference titled "New Paradigm for Human Development" was held in Baku, Azerbaijan at April 30, 2014. organised by the Nizami Ganjavi International Center and the World Academy of Art and Science. 
  22. On the initiative of Joanílio Rodolpho Teixeira, Professor Emeritus at the University of Brasilia and Fellow of WAAS, the Academy was invited to participate in a high level economics conference in Brasilia on May 6-8, 2014 entitled “Global Crisis and Changes of Paradigms: Current Issues”. This was the 11th in a series of annual international economics conferences exploring alternative theory and strategy for addressing pressing global challenges.
  23. On July 1, 2014 the World Academy of Art & Science and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Bosnia Herzegovina conducted a high level international conference in the main Parliament assembly hall at Sarajevo on "Conference on Employment Growth – On A Road to Recovery". The conference was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of BiH. In addition to representatives of WAAS, speakers included representatives from the European Union, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, International Labor Organization, and USAID. The conference highlighted successful models from neighboring countries, success stories drawn from different sectors of BiH, and innovative strategies for rapidly expanding job creation. 
  24. A three day conference was held in collaboration with Al-Farabi Kazakh National University at Almaty, Kazakhstan on November 5-7, 2014 and a two day conference in collaboration with Nizami Ganjavi International Centre is scheduled to be held in Baku, Azerbaijan on April 29-30, 2015. The Almaty conference built on the conclusions of recent conferences and on-going initiatives, including the Baku conference in April 2014, the trans-disciplinary discussion at Dubrovnik in September 2014 and work in progress on new economic theory. This conference examined core elements of an alternative paradigm at the level of theory, institutions and public policies. 
  25. The focus of the international conference on "Framework for a New Paradigm of Human Development" was on institutional change and governance issues needed to promote economic, political, social and ecological security. The conference which was held on April 30, 2015, in BAKU, Azerbaijan created an action plan for implementing ideas proposed during the Almaty conference organised by the Academy, the World University Consortium and the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University.
  26. The YK Center in collboration with WAAS, WUC, Humanity's Global Era Research Center and Gamechangers 500 brought the Global Game Changers Lab to Orange County in May 2015. The Lab provided an opportunity to dissect the current challenges our world is facing on a daily basis. 
  27. The XII International Colloquium took place in Gainesville, Florida, USA at the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida, from May 20-22, 2015. The selected theme was: Visions of Sustainable Development: Theory and Action. This meeting was organized by the University of Florida (UF), the University of Brasilia (UnB), and the World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS). 
  28. The XIII International Colloquium took place at the Lisbon School of Economics & Management, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal, on 11-13, May, 2016. The selected theme was “Post-2008 Global Dynamics & Structural Changes: Economic, Political and Eco-Societal Transitions” - Perspectives on New Economic Theory. Special sessions of the conference were dedicated to the development of a transdisciplinary conceptual framework for economic theory in the 21st century. This meeting was organized by the University of Lisbon, the University of Brasilia, the World Academy of Art and Science, World University Consortium, the University of Brasilia and CESA/CSG.