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World needs a new Bretton Woods with Africa in the lead – Business Day 27.11.2014

This week on Business Day, South Africa’s leading business newspaper, GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti reflects on the need to redefine the economic system and the very definition of economic progress.

“After the 2007-08 global economic collapse, we have not yet seen one major reform. Both bail-outs and quantitative easing (a cryptic term to hide the fact that governments have resorted to the old-fashioned, Zimbabwe-esque remedy of printing money out of thin air) have done exactly the opposite: they have condoned business-as-usual practices, providing an incentive for the financial sector to continue speculating.”

Our leaders make public appeals for more growth, but fail to specify what “type” of growth they want. While in the postwar period the world could have been satisfied with economic growth at all costs — most countries had been destroyed by the conflict and the future was simply about rebuilding — the new century has brought some critical reality checks. The planet is in pain, unbridled economic growth has increased inequalities in many countries and environmental damage has become a concern not only for tree-huggers, but for anybody interested in social and economic stability.

Read the full article on Business Day. 

Presentations from “Beyond GDP in Africa: Innovative ideas for a regional dashboard”

On 28-29 October 2014, GovInn, in partnership with the Sustainability Institute,  hosted a workshop that brought together academics and practitioners from statistical offices from Sub-Saharan Africa to identify practical solutions to measure well being and prosperity and move beyond numerical indicators such as GDP.

The title of the workshop was ‘Beyond-GDP in Africa: Innovative Ideas for a Regional Dashboard.’ Its goal was to take stock of the various criticisms raised against the gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of economic progress and to propose a way forward for African countries.

Read and download the presentations given at the workshop: 

Why it’s time to leave GDP behind, by Robert Costanza

The GCRO BAROMETER 2014, by Darlington Mushongera

MEASURING DECENT WORK INDICATORS AND WORK STATISTICS, by Coffi Agossou

Environmental Economic Accounting Water Resource Accounting for South Africa, by Robert Parry

Gross National Happiness (GNH) in Bhutan, by Lise Pretorius

Why reversing Africa’s Resource Curse requires calculating natural capital accounts and ecological debt, by Patrick Bond

Update on the UN System of Environmental-Economic Accounting, by Mandy Driver

Developing a Diagnostic Tool and Policy Instrument for the Realisation of Decent Work, by Edward Webster

Beyond GDP: Towards a composite well-being index The case of the Green Economy Index , by Anton Nahman

Beyond GDP in Africa: Day 1 summary

Click here to download the workshop official statement 

(FGV), in Rio de Janeiro (22-24 October) with meeting organiser Inês Sousa from the International Intelligence Unit of FGV.

ATLANTIC FUTURE in action: Security in the Atlantic Space (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

ATLANTIC FUTURE second plenary meeting took place at FUNDAÇAO GETÚLIO VARGAS, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 22 to 24 October 2014. The three day event provided an opportunity for the Consortium to meet and discuss the results of the research, review the progress of the Project and to discuss next steps. Researchers Frank Mattheis and John Kotsopoulos represented GovInn at the Symposium.

 

(FGV), in Rio de Janeiro (22-24 October) with meeting organiser Inês Sousa from the International Intelligence Unit of FGV.

Frank Mattheis (left) and John Kotsopoulos (right) at the ATLANTIC FUTURE second plenary meeting at FUNDAÇAO GETÚLIO VARGAS (FGV), in Rio de Janeiro (22-24 October) with meeting organiser Inês Sousa from the International Intelligence Unit of FGV

 

 

If you missed it, re-live the meeting “Security in the Atlantic Space” on youtube:

Lorenzo Fioramonti presents his latest book in Heidelberg

Lorenzo Fioramonti presents his new book in Heidelberg, Germany

Numbers dominate global politics and, as a result, our everyday lives. Credit ratings steer financial markets and can make or break the future of entire nations. GDP drives our economies. Stock market indices flood our media and national debates. Statistical calculations define how we deal with climate change, poverty and sustainability. But what is behind these numbers?
GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti presented his new book at the German American Institute in Heidelberg, Germany on 14 October 2014.

In How Numbers Rule the World, Lorenzo Fioramonti reveals the hidden agendas underpinning the use of statistics and those who control them. Most worryingly, he shows how numbers have been used as a means to reinforce the grip of markets on our social and political life, curtailing public participation and rational debate.Lorenzo Fioramonti presents his latest book in Heidelberg

Lorenzo Fioramonti presents his latest book in Heidelberg

Lorenzo Fioramonti presents his latest book in Heidelberg

Business by numbers can dull creativity of workforce -BusinessDay-

Fioramonti’s article this week focuses on the dangers on relying on simplified figures such as GDP to assess the development and the wealth of a country and make business decisions.

“When businesses base investment decisions on indicators such as the gross domestic product (GDP) they miss the forest for the trees. GDP is a very myopic measure of economic performance, which counts profits but excludes costs. Moreover, it flattens society and the market, thus giving the impression that growth affects all businesses (and people) in the same manner. In fact, there can be good and bad, equal and unequal, sustainable and unsustainable GDP growth.

“The “Africa rising” debate animating the investment community these days is a case in point, insofar as it does not pay attention to issues of sustainability and distribution, which are likely to hamper the performance of these “rising” economies. “

“Even good numbers can be misleading: indeed, numbers, by design, (over)simplify reality. In a numbers-driven world, only what can be measured counts. A metric-dependent business is more likely to forfeit long-term goals, which are harder to quantify, for short-term returns.”

Read it all on BusinessDay

Vandana Shiva at GovInn Week 2014

Gallery: Vandana Shiva at the GovInn Week 2014

Vandana Shiva addressing the participants of the Governance Innovation Week 2014

Land matrix in action: “Among the Senegalese Mother-Earths

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera features result from our LandMatrix  land monitoring project to describe the struggle of Senegalese women against land-grabbing multinationals. Read the full article here [Italian]

Transboundary Governance

Transboundary Governance

Supranational regionalism has been one of the most crucial governance innovations of recent times. As more challenges transcend borders, we need new and better systems to deal with them via regional cooperation.

Energy, common resources, environmental degradation, diseases and migration are just some examples of critical phenomena that do not respect national borders: a state-centred governance model is therefore ill suited to respond to these dynamics effectively. At the same time, regionalism itself is developing into a complex reality, with different models and levels of application.

It has been traditionally analyzed through a top-down lens, generally emphasizing the role of governmental elites, political parties and – to a lesser extent – business associations and epistemic communities. By contrast, civil society has received limited attention by scholars of regionalism in spite of the critical role it can play in strengthening the legitimacy of regional governance.

In the past few years, NGOs, social movements, advocacy groups, trade unions and civic associations have been able to exert a growing influence on decision-making at the regional level.

This role has been amplified not only by the introduction of specific policy channels and tools (e.g. the non-state actors programme at the EU level, the African Peer Review Mechanism at the AU level, etc.) but also by the desire of citizens to make their voices heard in an arena traditionally dominated by technocrats and lobbyists.

This research area includes our work in the field of regional governance, comparative regionalism, human migration, trade, EU-Africa relations, South-South cooperation and North-South relations.

Current running projects:


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New Economic Governance

Change

The convergence of crises, from climate change to the Great Recession and rampant social and economic inequality, fundamentally questions our main economic paradigm based on growth in the gross domestic product (GDP).

In order to tackle the current systemic crisis, we may indeed need to think creatively about the type of development we want to achieve in the 21st century.

GDP is arguably the most well-known statistic in the contemporary world, and certainly amongst the most powerful.

It drives government policy and sets priorities in a variety of vital social fields – from schooling to healthcare.

Yet for perhaps the first time since it was invented in the 1930s, this popular icon of economic growth has come to be regarded by many as a ‘problem’.

After all, does our quality of life really improve when our economy grows 2 or 3{bd2963b2c680ed8e9e94cc84d503442bf9bc59ccc6a1c4848a11c7bd683cc743}? Can we continue to sacrifice the environment to safeguard a vision of the world based on the illusion of infinite economic growth?

This research area includes our work in the field of ‘Beyond GDP’ governance as well as a series of pioneering projects in the field of wellbeing, community development, new business models and alternative currency systems.

 

Currently running projects:

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LEDDA: Local Economic Direct Democracy Association

leddaUrban communities worldwide want economies that are stronger, greener, fairer, more resilient, and more diverse. Jobs must be created, climate change addressed, infrastructure repaired, schools upgraded, and more. The LEDDA economic direct democracy framework offers a bold yet practical solution.

The framework synthesizes multiple approaches currently in use in cities and regions around the world into a coherent, consistent, integrated whole. It builds on ideas from buy local, invest local, local currency, local food, local sharing, open source, smart cities, open government, open data, participatory democracy, and related initiatives.

LEDDA means Local Economic Direct Democracy Association. A membership-based, community benefit corporation that implements a secondary economic framework as a local overlay to an existing city or regional economy. The framework offers all members roughly equal and direct opportunity to influence their local economy. It is applicable to cities and regions in both developed and emerging or other developing countries.

The LEDDA framework arises from a “systems,” or holistic, view of an economy, which is understood to be a decision-making system that is ripe for direct democracy. Money is viewed in part as a voting tool that facilitates direct democracy. A complete description of LEDDA economic direct democracy is provided in the book Economic Direct Democracy: A Framework to End Poverty and Maximize Well-Being. A free PDF version is available at the Principled Societies Project website.

Govinn and the Principled Societies Project USA will carry out this project through a global partnership of academic, civil society, government, business, and foundation groups that will usher the LEDDA framework through the development and scientific pilot trial phases.

To know more about LEDDA, please visit the links below: