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Say goodbye to capitalism: Welcome to the Republic of Wellbeing, The Guardian 02.09.2015

New Zealand’s Whanganui River

In 2012, New Zealand’s Whanganui River became a legal entity with a legal voice.

GovInn Director Lorenzo Fioramonti and his colleagues in the Alliance for Sustainability and Prosperity have co-authored an article for The Guardian on their vision of a global governance transformation that will create governments committed to pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals of the post 2015 agenda.

 

Authored by: Lorenzo Fioramonti, Enrico Giovannini, Robert Constanza, Ida Kubiszewski, Kate Pickett, Kristin Vala Ragnarsdottir, Roberto de Vogli and Richard Wilkinson

Imagine a country genuinely committed to pursuing the sustainable development goals (SDGs), set to be agreed on by the international community later this month. It would place emphasis on human and ecosystem wellbeing as the ultimate objective of progress. This country – let’s call it the Republic of Wellbeing – and its business sector would need to embark on a profound transformation to achieve durable, long-term change.

Around the world today, companies and governments do precisely the opposite: they put more emphasis on short-term economic dynamics, or what Hillary Clinton criticised as “quarterly capitalism”. If we are serious about meeting the SDGs then this cannot continue.

Read the full article at The Guardian.

 

Channel Africa SABC

Towards an African passport?

From Channel Africa, SABC

At the just ended 24th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU Summit) held on 30-31 January 2015 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, under the theme: “Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”, the Executive Council of AU deliberated on and requested the Commission to present detailed roadmaps for implementation of, among other flagship projects, The African Passport and Free Movement of People. GovInn Researcher and Co-Director, Chris Nshimbi, participated in panel discussion on the idea of an African passort on the African Dialogue program on SABC’sChannel Africa, 16 February 2015.

Lorenzo at the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0

Strategies for sustainable wellbeing: Lorenzo Fioramonti at the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0

The Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0 officially kicked off with a two day workshop in Berlin (Germany) in early February 2015. The Lab aims to shift institutions beyond the pursuit of narrowly measured parameters of economic progress (such as growth) to broader aims that translate into sustainable wellbeing for our societies.

GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti  was among the 25 innovators invited to the Lab from all over the world. He had the opportunity to discover new ways of looking at leadership, sustainable development and wellbeing, as he tells us in this interview.

Lorenzo at the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0

Lorenzo Fioramonti speaking at one of the sessions of the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0, Berlin 2015

 

What is the Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0?

Lorenzo Fioramonti: These Labs are an initiative of the Global Leadership Academy, a programme funded by the German government to convene “thought leaders” and innovators from all walks of life and from all over the world to discuss, network and share ideas about promoting change at the global scale. In particular, the Wellbeing Lab focuses on new approaches to economic progress and what type of cultural, social and political change we need to build a different economy. It is led by Prof. Otto Scharmer, from the Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT) and world renowned for his Theory U, and co-hosted by the Presencing Institute in Boston (USA) and the Gross National Happiness Centre in Bhutan.

What happened in Berlin?

The Berlin kick-off event was a very enriching gathering of extremely motivated individuals, from very different backgrounds. There were young innovators from the Silicon Valley, like Nipun Metha, who gave a very inspiring TED Talk on the economy of generosity watched by tens of thousands of viewers. We had the first lady of the State of Oregon, Cylvia Hayes, who is a dedicated environmentalist and has led the introduction of the Genuine Progress Indicator in Oregon.  There was also my friend Katherine Trebeck from Oxfam, who has developed the Humankind Index (another great Ted Talk to watch).
We had managers from the clothing giant Eileen Fisher and Google’s sale manager, Alfred Tolle. We then had representatives of various governments, from Costa Rica to Brazil, USA, Vietnam and the UK. From South Africa, I was joined by Louise Van Rhyn of Symphonia and Mary Jane Morifi from the Nelson Mandela Children Hospital Trust.

We were invited to spend a few days, in almost complete isolation, in the beautiful ecological resort of Landgut A. Borsig, one of the hallmarks of the civil resistance against Hitler. It was a great opportunity to share ideas on how to foster a well-being based economic transition for our countries.

Lorenzo Fioramonti from Presencing Institute on Vimeo.

How does the Lab work?

LF: This first meeting gave us an opportunity to get to know each other better. Indeed, the Lab will continue for 2 years and will become a ‘journey’ taking us to different locations around the world. It’s designed as a space for reflection, but also as an incubator for action. It is based on the Theory U approach, which shows how collective change is ultimately the outcome of a journey. This journey includes personal change as well as continuous interaction with likeminded individuals from different cultural backgrounds. We all share a conviction that the current economic system is not delivering on wellbeing, but the journey will help us identify a common ground on how to make the change happen in practice. Academics, business leaders, government officials and civic activists are all brought together to shape this intellectual and personal journey over the course of the next two years.

What is happening next?

LF: We will start scanning interesting social innovations in South Africa and then bring them back into our global debate. We will also need to identify ideas for change that could become prototypes for action. In May we will then meet again in Bhutan, where we have been officially invited by the government. After that, the journey will take us to other destinations. In the end, the initiative aims to build a strong network of leaders and innovators with a set of shared practical ideas to change the world!

2015 Africa Prosperity Summit: “Promoting Wealth and Wellbeing”

Legatum InstituteAn interesting event for those who, like us at GovInn, are researching new economic governance.
The 2015 Africa Prosperity Summit: Promoting Wealth and Wellbeing, promoted by the Legatum Institute with the support of the Ford Foundation, is taking place in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, on 20-21 May 2015.

 

The conference will focus on four key themes:

  • How data can promote shared prosperity
  • Stoking African innovation: ways and means
  • Business values for prosperity
  • Personal safety and national prosperity

Keynote Speakers

  • Zeinab Badawi, Chair of the Royal Africa Society
  • Marieme Jamme, CEO of SpotOne Global Solutions
  • David McGinty, Team Manager of Human Development Innovation Fund

Registration closes on 20 February 2015.
For more information on how to take part in the summit check the Legatum Institute website

About the Legatum Institute

The Legatum Institute is an international think-tank and educational charity. Its aim is to promote prosperity by revitalising capitalism and democracy. The Legatum Prosperity Index, our signature publication, ranks 142 countries in terms of wealth and wellbeing.

VIDEO Rising economic inequality casts a shadow on the WEF -SABC

Rising economic inequality continues to cast a shadow over the World Economic Forum, says GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti in a live interview on SABC news (22 January 2015).
Oxfam set the tone earlier this week in a report timed to the start of the Davos conference: it estimated that the combined wealth of the world’s richest 1 percent could overtake that of the remaining 99 percent by next year.
Will the WEF do something about it?

“Creating a More Egalitarian Society”: introduction to the LEDDA partnership

“Creating a More Egalitarian Society”, by John Boik:  an introduction to the LEDDA framework and the LEDDA Partnership.

Houston, 7.12.14

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. 

Creative ideas on migration will open the doors to growth -Business Day SA-

“South Africa is the destination of many workers from the rest of Africa and from the rest of the world. We know that about 7% of SA’s workforce is foreign. More than 38% of workers in gold mines are non-South African citizens and more than 22% of mine workers in all sectors hail from Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Mozambique.

Data are sketchy and grossly underestimate the phenomenon. Many migrants are employed in informal positions, with precarious jobs, both in terms of safety and social security. Most undocumented migrant workers are poorly captured by official statistics. By all means, migrant workers are a fundamental factor in SA’s economic development. But how supportive and reliable is the present administrative and legislative framework?

What we need is a simple and clear framework to allow citizens of neighbouring countries to seek work and business opportunities in SA. We may even want to consider experimenting with free movement, for instance, within the Southern African Customs Union. In the European Union (EU), where free movement is a reality, most people have not relocated to other countries. As they benefit from clear arrangements that allow them to return regularly to their home country, they need not relocate permanently.”

In his regular column on Business Day, Lorenzo Fioramonti discusses how South Africa could transform its position of African immigration hub into an economic opportunity.

Read the full article on Business Day

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

How Moving Beyond GDP may Help Fight Poverty in Africa

In this policy brief for CROP (Comparative Research Programme on Poverty) GovInn director Lorenzo Fioramonti explains how alternative indicators are likely to highlight the important contribution of social cohesion and natural welfare to economic development, thus helping to eradicate poverty in the continent.

Click here to read the CROP Poverty Briefs in full