The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.
Between 1970 and 2007 alone, the world saw 425 systemic economic crises, among them 145 sector-wide banking crises. In the light of current political and social events one might start to wonder whether this apparently inherent instability might ever be reduced, even if there is sufficient public intent. Yet, at the same time, the global effects of population growth, resource exploitation and environmental degradation force us to think about long-term change. This leaves the question: What is the actual leeway? If you have been asking yourself how things could be changed and how to contribute, you might be interested in this academic summer program:
The Summer School Alternative Economic and Monetary Systems (Vienna, July 24 - August 9, 2019, 5 ECTS, completely in English) is open to students and professionals of all fields and offers alternatives to the processes that are putting strains on our economic and eco-social boundaries. In addition to classic and new concepts from the field of economics, students will also hear presentations from natural and social sciences and discuss the actual leeway for economic and monetary reform. Reports from the last years can be found here.
AEMS will be back in 2019!
AEMS is an academic Summer School that offers a new approach: An evaluation of economic alternatives that considers natural boundaries and the human factor to be equal parts of the equation. Our goal: To help solve some of societies’ problems by presenting viable alternatives to processes and developments that are putting enormous strains on economic, ecologic and social boundaries.
In addition to various new and classical concepts from the field of economic sciences, students are also provided with up-to-date scientific data from natural and social sciences. This enables them to have a level-headed discussion of economic and monetary reform while asking: What is our leeway?
The lectures, workshops and discussion panels cover a variety of topics, from the reform or re-definition of money, an overhaul of the aim of economic activity towards solidarity and cooperation, tax reform, a reform of financial markets, all the way to a change in consumer culture and the reduction of resource consumption. Oh, and did we already mention that you will be able to experience the effects of energy-efficient architecture first-hand by living in one of Austria's most modern dormitories?
There are many alternatives!
The main intention behind the creation of the Summer School was to use a positive approach to the field of economic alternatives, asking if this apparently inherent instability might be reduced or avoided, and show students the chances of reform. A great amount of possible approaches to economic reform has been proposed over the years, proving that there is high demand for a new economic system. A number of current and promising concepts were selected to be presented to the students, ranging all the way up to a fundamental reform of global structures and institutions.
What we're facing
The global population development has shown a sharp boost during the last century, growing from around 1 billion in 1800 to 2 billion in 1927 and reaching 7 billion in 2011, with an increasing number living in urban areas. The strongest growth occurs in Asia and Africa, amplifying the already existing demands for higher consumption due to rising living standards. In Europe, the development has been that of a stagnating, but ageing demographic, which influences the labor force and leads to changing patterns in consumption of goods and services and changing demands regarding infrastructure as well as health and social services. Globally, rising water and energy consumption are the most prominent problems (3.5 million people die each year due to the lack of drinking water, let alone the problems posed by water demands for food and energy production), but there is also an increased loss of agricultural land, with 30-50% of land surface already having been transformed by humans, and the current problem of land and water grabbing in developing countries. A re-invention of the concept of allocative efficiency and criticism of the practice of externalization, especially with regard to public goods, is at the center of a number of proposals for economic reform.
The last decades also brought about an intensification of cross-border business activities. The subsequent worldwide competition for investment influences labor standards and increases instabilities in the labor market; this concerns wages and working time as well as job security itself. The 500 biggest enterprises now control 52% of the global GDP, but employ only 1,8% of the global workforce. Income and wealth inequalities have been growing in nearly all OECD countries during the last four years.
Historic evidence shows that inequality fuels economic instability and creates imbalances in political influence and control, giving players with economic power inflated bargaining strength – and lowering intergenerational mobility. Occupational psychology increasingly focuses on work-related diseases, caused by strain and stress, fatigue and monotony. A number of reform proposals focus on social aspects that are influenced by the economy and seek a re-valorization of aspects such as human dignity, social justice, solidarity and cooperation, co-determination, transparency and ecological sustainability.
What AEMS is ...
AEMS offers room for critical thinking and the possibility to openly discuss and deconstruct ideas and concepts with distinguished experts from various scientific fields. The participants will be able to move beyond the widespread limitation of higher education that lacks extensive exchange between scientific disciplines.
The lectures, workshops and discussion panels cover a variety of topics, from the reform or re-definition of money, an overhaul of the aim of economic activity towards more solidarity and cooperation, the perks of tax reform, reformatory ideas for the financial markets, all the way to changes in consumer culture and the reduction of resource consumption. In addition, participants will have the possibility to experience the effects of energy-efficient architecture first-hand by living in one of Austria's most modern dormitories.
Why the emphasis on monetary reform?
In theory, money is consdered to be a tool: It can be used as a medium of exchange; a measure of value; a store of value. Its presence, as well as its absence, can enable productive as well as destructive effects. Yet, money itself (or, at least, its accumulation) has become an imperative driving force behind almost any economic and social endeavor, guiding people and businesses as well as political, academic and religious entities, weaving itself into the very fabric of society. Its influence extends from day-to-day interactions all the way to monetary policy, with significant effects for individuals, economy and the society as a whole. However, the institutional and psychological mechanisms behind it are barely addressed; this also goes for the effects that complementary currencies have been shown to have. AEMS offers a look at the entity “money”: What it is; how it affects us; how it is tied to us on a fundamental level; how it can be transformed.
How to apply
The applications process will start in December. Soon we will get back to you with a specific date. For now follow us on Facebook or Twitter!
For a successful application please complete the online application form and upload all required documents.
Applications will be accepted as late as June. If you're in need of a scholarship, please be sure to apply until April 22. However, if you apply after this date, you might still qualify for unclaimed and additional slots.
For more information please contact
Ms. Carina Kamptner
Ebendorferstraße 7, 1010 Wien
Phone: +43 1 53408 800
You can also find us on Facebook and on Twitter!
AEMS is a Green Event
We aim to host the AEMS Summer School (July 24 to August 9, 2019) according to the criteria of the Austrian Ecolabel for Green Meetings. We therefore prepare many visible and invisible measures and would be pleased if you endorse those efforts and support us! Please choose bus or train for your trip to Vienna. In Vienna there is a good public transport system. For going to the BOKU Vienna please use the bus lines 10A, 37A, 40A and S45. In case you want to ride your bike to the BOKU there are enough bicycle parking lots next to Schwackhöferhaus. Carpooling is another option (BOKU Flinc Mitfahrbörse). Please use the BOKU CO2 compensation system.
Please throw any garbage in the separate collection bins at the BOKU. For further questions kindly contact the AEMS coordinators under firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your contribution!