Introduction into the AEMS

Jul 31, 2018 by
  1. Only one planet: Boundaries economy must respect – by Helga Kromp-Kolb

The basic assumptions Helga Kromp-Kolb identified are: we only have one planet, we have an interest to survive as a species and we don’t have any deus-ex-machina to save us. The core question of the lecture was “Is humanity suicidal?” The reason for this statement can be approved by the following facts: the population of our planet is still growing (based on the UN predictions in 2100 there might be 11.2 billion of people), the land area per capita has a tendency to decrease. While a biomass energy use is increasing, gas energy use isn’t decreasing significantly. The highlight of the lecture is that saving the environment should be the focus in all sectors. It was interesting to realize that if the modern economic system and the nature are opponents and the rules of nature are unchangeable, we must find the alternative system of the world. We agreed that humanity is sacrificing nature for growth. As it was shown on the map the richest countries have already transgressed planetary boundaries to the higher extent comparing with the poorest countries. To address these challenges we must bring the sciences together!

  1. Doctrinaire Economics Is Outdated but Still Dangerous – by Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker

Ernst Ulrich started his lecture with the difference between the Empty World and the Full World. Before 1990, economics was basically alright, but later it became very arrogant: the financial market got too  dominant over the states, and financial sharks started to dictate what to do. Nowadays we can see that climate horrors are emerging: flooding, wildfires, dried harvests and others. The positive effort of the capitals to fix the current environmental problems is the Paris Agreement of 2015. However, they say it requires a lot of financial resources that can be gained through more growth, but GDP growth is still strongly correlated  with CO2 emissions. This is problematic, particularly as we remain to be in the closed system of the planet. According to the lecture, population growth is the core of the global problems, as more people need more resources. It was pointed out during the lecture we should apply the “one or two children policy” as a solution to this problem, however nobody in Europe would agree to that now. Classical economists are misinterpreted nowadays; for example, Ricardo’s theory says that capital must stay within the borders, yet today it moves freely between nation states. We believe in the power of humanity to provide the world with a better future! The lecturer proposed a New Enlightenment as a way towards it.

  1. Bubbles, Busts and Crashes – Why Our Economic System is Financially Unsustainable and what we can do about it – by Christian Kreiss

Christian Kreiss gave us an example of the bread’s production process and its distribution. We found it interesting that about one third of the price is composed of capital costs. It is a common thought that the distribution of money in the world is unequal and we consider it one of the most important challenges for humanity. This is an example that shows how complicated the whole system is: If a cappuccino costs 1€, 30 cent flow to the top 20% of managers, of which 10 cent flow to the top 1%.  It was surprising to find that the top 1% in the society owns as much as the rest 99% of the global population. We agree that there is an overproduction even in some poor countries and, as Rudolf Steiner called it, it is a societal cancer of the world. Our vision is to try to control the production according to the demand. The main problems of the world are coming from capitalism and inequalities, whether it is in class, race or sex. As a solution it was recommended to change the wealth structure, starting with the taxation system and reducing needless consumption (an interesting book “Bullshit Jobs” was mentioned). The main message was that we must avoid major crash and depression.

Written by: Sarah Badawood and Olha Typylo

Based on the lectures by: Helga Kromp-Kolb, Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker and Christian Kreiss