The Challenge

 

The global Covid-19 pandemic and the actions necessary to contain it have caused unprecedented social and economic impacts. Once again it shows how susceptible our societies are to crises. Billions of people are worried about their health, their jobs and their incomes. To limit the economic damage and to prevent it from being compounded by a financial heart attack, governments and central banks have been forced to engage in massive interventions. The inequalities in our societies have been cruelly exposed.

The original idea of the Transformative Responses project had been to prepare for the next crisis ahead, develop feasible plans governments could act upon and shift the economic debate in media and politics. But right after the project had started, the crisis was already upon us and made it necessary to adapt our plans.

We decided to start by setting up a European network of civil society organisations, think tanks and academics to understand and discuss the current crisis. As a first output we launched our initial network statement: Beyond crisis mode: building a resilient society.

Together with our network, we aimed at identifying gaps and discrepancies in the progressive sphere of transformative responses to the crisis where the Transformative Responses project can make a difference. This provided the baseline for our project module’s:

  • Scenario analysis
  • Next generation central banking
  • Social-Ecological Transformation in times of low growth and low interest rates
  • Short term profit vs. long term sustainability

We cannot completely avoid shocks such as a novel virus or a financial bubble. However, we can prevent them from turning into economic and social crises. To achieve this, the reactive and improvised economic crisis policy of the past is not sufficient. In light of the last decade of economic distress and the climate emergency that is already upon us, we need a progressive policy response.

Such politics must identify risks timely and at the same time tackle the social and economic processes that contribute to them. It must enable our society and economy to handle the shocks that arise, to adapt and reconstruct more robustly and to recover in a more sustainable and equitable way.