Our society and our economy - both interdependent systems - are going to be faced by profound changes and consequently forced to an adequate joint learning process. The first step is to find out what we have to learn. Here, four action fields have been determined: recognising the most vital interests; taking serious the world wide dependencies; decoupling welfare from economic growth; integrating the change in social values into politics. Then we have to identify the factors that bar societal learning: the wish to preserve what already has been achieved; the fascination of material welfare; the pull of the progress-oriented way of thinking. Finally we have to find an answer by focussing on the learning subjects: How to combine pursuit of profit with sustainability and how to convert the fear of loss into productive behaviour? The strongest motivation will be the inevitability of change. Costs for life and economic management will considerably increase and most people in this country will have to spend a growing share of their incomes to cover their basic needs. The task is to adopt the necessary self-sufficiency as a condition for a sustainable future. This is definitely possible. Most people accept without greater opposition what they consider as inevitable - provided that plausible reasons are given for what they are demanded and that it hits everyone according to his ability. The transformation to sustainability will we a joint venture. It will be successful if not only politics and economy are the decision makers but when the active parts of society also participate in the decision processes. All this cannot be guaranteed; but it is worth working for.
Wie lernen Gesellschaften - heute?
Zur Verwirklichung politischer Einsichten oder: Abschied vom Wunschdenken
Impulse zur WachstumsWende no. 4 (February 2012)