We are currently experiencing upheavals which are globally interconnected on economic, technological, ecological and social levels, partly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
These have important consequences for society as a whole and not least for the economy and business community. Society, as well as individuals and entrepreneurs, are actively looking for hopeful structures and networks to meet the current challenges. An economy concerned with people and the environment is more pressing than ever. Achieving a more optimal balance between economy, technology, ecology and society is central to this.
Against the background of these issues, the crucial importance of meaningfulness also comes into focus. People feel too little involved and become alienated. The articulation of hope forces itself upon them. The phenomenon of the increasing amount of more burn-outs in the workplace, in addition to the unacceptably high percentage of depressions and suicides, point to the need for what this Chair calls an Economy of Hope.
The Chair focuses on the following perspectives: current economic, technological, ecological and social challenges for an Economy of Hope; implications for a sustainable relationship between economy, technology and ecology; and ways of giving meaning to hope in the economy and society.
The Chair takes concrete form in initiatives such as workshops, lecture series, congresses and (partly in view of the corona limitations) through other forms of communication such as publications and possibly webinars and the like.
The whole is under the leadership of the Chair holder/promotor Prof. Dr. Hendrik Opdebeeck (Centre for Ethics). Co-supervisor is Prof. Dr. Luc Van Liedekerke (Centre for Ethics). Researcher and coordinator is Brecht Daneels.
The elaboration takes place in consultation with the donor, who submitted the following non-exhaustive list of possible priorities for the execution of the chair:
- The importance of meaningfulness within entrepreneurship.
- An economic approach to the climate and corona problems, based on meaning.
- Attention for the weakest, poorest, helpless and addicts within an Economy of Hope
- The contemporary impact of media companies, social media, e-mail etcetera. Which models or quality requirements are important here? Which communication models offer informative added value today?
- The impact and limits of technology (including digitization) on whether or not to break through an Economy of Hope.
- What should be a priority in an Economy of Hope to tackle the problems of depression, burn-out and suicide? How do we look at the performance of people in companies?
- What could be the specific contribution of participatory models to the economic fabric: employee-employer-government?
In this corona era, does society remain collectively addicted to growth, consumption and the material? Are we waiting for yet another upheaval such as a second corona wave or an inescapable breakthrough of the climate crisis? Or can an Economy of Hope rid us of that collective addiction? Can it be both a growth economy and a deceleration economy, in order to also develop a more ecologically and socially balanced model? How can collective learning slow down and accelerate? Does it make sense for us to learn something here, or can it be done without?
With a view to the realisation of the Chair's activities, a special collaboration will be established with, among others, UCSIA, Etion, the Community Economy and the interuniversity SPES forum.
The Chair starts in the course of 2020, runs for three years and is made possible thanks to a tax-deductible financial gift of 3X €70,000 donated by the weekly Trends, published by Roularta Media Group. The gift will be divided over 3 annual instalments in the period January 2020 - January 2022. The sum mentioned includes the costs of further research, publication through various channels (such as theme cahiers and social media), workshops and congresses, publication or communication costs, the closing session and the chair's ongoing scientific, editorial and logistical support.