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The Dancing Economist | 05/Autumn 2019

I enjoyed the summer break fully, dancing and swimming in various rivers and lakes. I even took a private journey to Spain by train to visit friends.

I successfully prepared for a “hot autumn” which is inevitable with my new, provocative book “This is not economy”. The book will stir the pot and dive deep: It is my attempt to reconnect the detached “branch” of economics with the branch of social sciences and the tree of universal sciences.

What an endeavor!


Overview
  1. Books: This is not economy, La Voz Interior
  2. Common Good Cooperative: Capital reduction, Common Good account
  3. Economy for the Common Good: 63rd local chapter, legal opinion on Common Good Balance, "summit talks", guideline to SDGs
  4. Politics: ECG motion in German Bundestag, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Tenerife support ECG, Landkreis Höxter as Common Good region
  5. Academics: Not the Nobel Prize, publication in "Sustainability"
  6. Media coverage
  7. Outlook: Trading for good, Common Good focus in Berlin
  8. Action!
I. Books

Call for the revolution of economic sciences

Eagerly I have been waiting for “This is not economy” to be published. I was fully aware of the established economic sciences not going to be amused. However, would I be able to communicate my message and be understood properly? Would the book reach the students?
Only one day after the publishing date, a devastating review was published in the online version of Der Standard, by Prof. Ulrich Berger, head of the Institut of Analytical Economics of Vienna University of Business and Economics (WU Wien). He judges that I top the pseudo scientific argumentation strategy of climate change deniers. Berger is member of the Society for scientific investigation of pseudsciences, is also part of the circle of initiators of a petition to Austria‘s Minister of Education to eliminate an image of mine from a textbook for Austrian schools or to prohibit the further use of the book. Interestingly, it was Fred Luks, the former head of the WU‘s Sustainability Center who associates the ECG alternately with Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, North Corea or the Nazis, who was commissioned by Der Standard to write a review in the weekend edition („Album“) – until today, derStandard refused the publishing of any other opinion. The first presentation took place in Klagenfurt, in which the parting ordinary for Macro Economics, Reinhard Beck, participated in showed the gap between the academic economics and the general public – dialogue is difficult.
The first presentation in Vienna took place in Wien Museum in front of a wonderful backdrop during the Vienna Humanities Festival, moderated by Martina Bachler (“trend”).
The main presentation on October 1, took place in the Hauptbücherei Wien. An attractive panel with Uwe Schneidewind, president of Wuppertal Institute, Anna Reisch, academic coordination of the “pluralos” in Germany as well as Jesús Crespo Cuaresma, Chairman of the Board of the Macro Economics Department at WU – a colleague of Ulrich Berger who initiated the petition sent to the Austrian Education Ministry to remove me from a textbook in 2016. Wiener Zeitung’s Thomas Seifert led through the evening. Thanks to an audio recording you can revisit the event. This is my observation: Prof Crespo Cuaresma confirmed, partly highly emotional, that economists work “like physicists” fully confidently, that they are “positivists” and that he actually found this to be “cool”. This way he confirmed various of my criticisms unexpectedly. Uwe Schneidewind and Anna Reisch offered sophisticated arguments. Prof Crespo Cuaresma received backup by a colleague from Linz and WU in the audience which did not go well with the general public.
→ All media coverage incl discussions (DE)

La Voz Interior

My very personal booklet „The Innere Stimme” (“The Inner Voice”), which I do not specifically promote, is being read a lot in German. The ECG community in Spain now encouraged me to publish this “spiritual outing” also in Spanish. My “second publisher” Anaya with which I have very good experiences (“Salvemos el euro”) agreed and published the booklet in a coherent format, including a new cover picture and dance pictures in every chapter. For the initial presentation, approx. 100 people turned up at the “Casa del Libro”. Prior to this, Gaspar Hernández interviewed me for his famous radio programme about mindfulness and “interioridad”. I signed loads of copies and received the feedback that after reading the booklet people more deeply and clearly understand why I promote the Economy for the Common Good, Sovereign Democracy, Ethical World Trade etc. Now people can choose to support the ECG full heartedly which makes me very happy! 
Pictures of the presentation
Radio interview on Radio 3 alacarta (ES)

II. Common Good Cooperative

Capital reduction successful: Become a member now!

The capital reduction from 100 to 25 Euros per share certificate, concluded at the last General Assembly, was a pretty lengthy formal process with the commercial register court (Firmenbuchgericht). Now it is successfully recorded in the commercial register. Hence, we can welcome new members with a participation of 50 Euros (2x25 Euros per share certificate). Please become a member of the Common Good Cooperative and support its new strategy participating in the ethical crowdfunding, ordering a Common Good Account, taking part in the Academy and hopefully soon get a Common Good Loan for your positive Common Good Balance
→ My video message (DE)

Common Good Account starting up 

When issuing the Common Good Account we received over 500 orders. This is a huge amount for the small Umweltcenter of Raiffeisen Gunskirchen which specifically increased its personnel for this project. While having issued around 300 accounts already, we are working on speeding up the process and extending the amount.
Gemeinwohl-Konto (DE)


III. Economy for the Common Good

63rd regional chapter founded in Flensburg 

What a pleasure to be part of the founding celebration of the 63rd (!) ECG local chapter in Germany! At the boarder to Denmark, 20 people around Svend Wippich decided to engage in the ECG after exploring different alternatives. The university offered its big lecture hall which filled up with over 350 listeners. In the afternoon, I held a seminar for the study course “Transformational Studies” to which three times more students came as they usually do, as well as alumni of the course. Spontaneously, I added another seminar to the same afternoon. Later, the evening event was attended by the study course initiator Bernd Sommer, mayor Werner Schweizer from ECG municipality Klixbüll as well as HU Berlin’s Cornelia Kühn, who currently conducts a research project about ECG. It was a strong impulse in the high north of Germany. I foresee a bright future for the new chapter.
pre-printed interview with Bernd Sommer and Svend Wippich in Flensburger Tagblatt (DE)  

Legal opinion on Common Good Balance

On October 30, I was invited to present two legal opinions on the Common Good Balance together with University Fulda’s Prof. Stefanie Deinert. Daniela Ecker, environmental law at the University Linz, compiled the legal opinion for Austria. The study authors examined how far the Common Good Balance implements the EU’s NFI guideline. The pleasant result: Regarding content, the Common Good Balance exceeds the demands of the NFI guideline. Small formal deficits, like the biennial recertification process, can easily be amended with the next Balance version.
Press release of ECG (DE)
Media coverage in Osthessische (DE)

Mountain talks at the „Drei Zinnen“

The B.A.U.M. e.V. association is a consortium of pioneers in sustainability consulting in Germany, gathering around Prof. Maximilian Gege. Every year, it takes a three-days timeout to explore important topics and broaden horizons. This year’s hiking goal were the “Drei Zinnen” in the South Tyrolian Dolomite Alps, and ECG should be the intellectual peak. I have been invited by Bernhard Schwager, Sustainability Officer at BOSCH. The three days were full of highly interesting conversations with my 20 hiking colleagues and I could fully relax while finding refreshment in a high mountain lake.
Pictures of mountain tour  

Guideline to SDG and ECG 

The publication „Scoring for the Common Good and the SDGs“ by Matthias Kasper and Gerd Hofielen targets organizations that are enthusiastic about the SDGs as well as ECG. The Common Good Balance Sheet serves as the strategy management tool, which has been confirmed by University Bremen to have a high capability to implement the SDGs. The guideline is hands-on and supports the implementation of SDG measures on company level.
→ free download (DE)

IV. Politics

First ECG motion in German Bundestag

For the first time, an ECG motion was introduced in the parliament – in the German Bundestag. The party Bündnis90/Die Grünen demand that “at least two (semi)governmental companies take part in an according pilot project”. I personally recommend Deutsche Bahn and GIZ (as an international multiplicator).  
Deutscher Bundestag

Amsterdam, Barcelona and Tenerife support ECG 

Amsterdam goes ECG. In its four-years programme “Amsterdam Impact 2019-2022”, ECG is featured prominently next to B Corps and is mentioned up to 10 times in the 54 pages report. In total, 2.5 million Euro are budgeted, in-depth talk with the City of Amsterdam are currently being scheduled.
Following a successful Common Good Balancing of Barcelona’s district Horta-Guinardó with 170,000 inhabitants, a follow-up project was recently concluded: On the district’s initiative and funded with the city’s budget, nine private and one public companies have been coached through the Common Good Balance process, from Ecoalimentària to Enginyeria Emser, from Torre Jusanna to Corporació CLD. The later employs 900 people and is part of the Grup Sorigué with headquarters in Lleida, in total counting 4,000 employees and being in charge of a part of the garbage removal in Barcelona. Interesting detail: All other garbage removal companies are transnational multi-utility corporations.
Even in the very south of Spain ECG is on the move. 24 companies did the Common Good Balance sheet as a result of the local chamber of commerce and the island’s government appointing ECG as a unique selling proposition for the sensitive archipelago. Also, an environmental factor, the mineral oil production against the population’s will, influenced the decision.
Amsterdam Impact
→ ECG opening event in Horta-Guinardó
→ Website of Santa Cruz's chamber of commerce

Landkreis Höxter (NRW, Germany) heading towards Common Good region 

Since the city Steinheim awarded the Reinneccius medal to me in 2017, it became the first Common Good City. In the summer semester, FH Bielfeld started an ECG project under the lead of sociologist Prof Oliver Bierfhoff in which students lead companies through the Common Good Balance process. The common-good foundation Gemeinwohl-Ökonomie NRW in the neighboring Detmold, the first in the ECG community, started a LEADER project in order to implement the common-good vision in Landkreis Höxter. The joint budget of EU and federal state facilitates the project till late 2020, an extension is being aspired to. The overall goal is to connect as many communities, companies, educational institutions and citizens as possible with ECG and support them in their efforts. Another success followed in August: Brakel succeeds Steinheim in being a Common Good City, based on a unanimous vote of the municipal council. Rumor has it that all of Höxter’s communities strive to become a Common Good municipality.
→ Brakel becomes Common Good City: Brakel-News (DE)
→ Research lab at FH Bielefeld (DE)
→ Common Good region Höxter: Website

V. Academics

Not The Nobel Prize


On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the “Nobel Prize for Economy” in 1969 by the Swedish Reichsbank, which was established under infamous circumstances (I shed light on it in my new book “This is not economy”), the initiative “Not the Nobel Prize” was developed. Its purpose is to offer background information on the Nobel Prize as well as an online competition called “Not the Nobel Prize”. I participated in an online webinar, together with Ann Pettifor, Steve Keen and Nicolas Gruen. Addtionally, I wrote an article on Mint Magazine. ECG UK nominated me for the online competition and I ranked 8th under 59 nominees; the top 7 reached the finale. On the positive side, I got the second most comments – thank you! Marianna Mazzuccato won the NTN Prize as pioneer for public goods – similarly as Elinor Ostrom for commons.
Recording of webinar (EN)
→ Article in Mint Magazine „The Gold Medal

First journal article published

My academic vita is filling up as I just published my first journal article. The ECG chair of University Valencia summarized the findings of its study on 206 ECG companies in an article called „The Common Good Balance Sheet, an Adequate Tool to Capture Non-Financials?“ and asked me to be co-author. The article has been published in Sustainability. This is also how I got a presentation slot on ISBEE in July 2020 in Bilbao, where I am going to talk about the first results of my current IASS research project about the integration of NFI reporting standards.
→ Article in sustainability 
ISBEE 2020

VII. Media coverage


VIII. Outlook

Trading for Good

Hooray, a third book will be published in English. “Ethical World Trade” („Ethischer Welthandel“) is released on November 15 as „Trading for Good“, and as an alternative trading system will complete the vision of an alternative economy as well as financial system! 

ECG impulse in Berlin

The current peer group of ECG Berlin-Brandenburg with ecosia and Heldemarkt will present its Common Good Balance Sheets on November 9 in a press conference in Berlin! We are excited!

IX. Action!

Become Common Good Cooperative member now!
As explained above I invite you to support the cooperative and become a member!
Become a member (DE)

Become an ECG member now!
The growing movement is looking forward to new members. Especially the Austrian "Frounding Association" is happy to welcome new members as it becomes a regular national association and therefor more dependent on local supporters.


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