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The Dancing Economist #7 | Autumn 2020

The Corona measures paralysed my professional work for months - public events are my staff of live. Like others, I had to partially reinvent myself. In the meantime, the combination of online formats, selected "real" public events, reallocating the focus of activities, cost savings and state aid has worked out, and I can get through 2020 relatively well - but at the price of the additional workload and the associated question of meaning. I want to enjoy saving the world, too!
At the same time, I am participating in the big picture discussion about the coronavirus. In my vlog “From Corona to the Common Good” I published a fourth episode on May 12th (in German). I still feel it is valid today - although I have the impulse to write a longer piece about the "festival of disproportionalities", which I reserve for the Christmas holidays. I also contributed to the position paper of ECG "For a common good-oriented post-corona economy", which was published on June 18. I presented core content in various interviews and online events, e. g. in the GrIStuF on June 8th (Greifswald International Students Festival). Some of these are now being reported prominently, such as in the local Kreisbote about a webinar in Starnberg with 250 participants. Enjoy the reading!

  1. Science: Award for ECG teaching project, IASS study on mandatory sustainability reporting
  2. Economy for the Common Good: City of Vienna opens its doors, 10 years ECG, First Common Good City in Germany, companies' common good balance, European LEADER project
  3. Common Good Cooperative: Ethical savings account and students' account, new strategy, VBV discussion "Green Money" (DE)
  4. Politics: ECG on the website of the Federal Chancellery, politicians of diverse parties discuss ECG, vision of a sovereign democracy
  5. Networking: Network Economic Transition founded, Summer of Purpose in Munich
  6. Books: Hungarian edition of ECG, The Next Systems Reader, Trading for Good, This is not economy
  7. Travels: Mountain bath in Ticino, Holland hat trick
  8. Media coverage: Own texts, interviews, articles about ECG
  9. Action!
I. Science

Award for ECG teaching project

The model “Practical course for creating a common good balance sheet for and with regional companies”, which was developed at the Münster University of Applied Sciences by Prof. Petra Teitscheid, member of the scientific advisory board of the ECG movement, is being copied in more and more places, including the universities of Paderborn and Kassel. Now the teaching project at the University of Kassel, which is carried out by Prof. Christian Herzig, Johanna Stöhr and the coordinator of the University's Service Learning Office, Dr. Imke-Marie Badur, has been selected by the Toepfer Foundation to participate in the 2020 specialist program "TEACHING - The Alliance for University Teaching". In the seminar, students work with companies and other organizations from the Kassel region to create ECG reports and balances. After the 2012 teaching award at the University of Graz, ECG is now also happy to receive a prize for a practical course!

→ Article about University of Kassel (DE)
→ Teaching award 2012 at University of Graz

IASS study on mandatory sustainability reporting

Part I of my “incubator” research project at the IASS Potsdam has been successfully completed. At the beginning of September, the study “Mandatory Reporting on Corporate Sustainability Performance”, in which we developed criteria for a legally binding sustainability reporting standard, was published. The main finding of the study team from B.A.U.M. Consult GmbH are 10 requirements (p. 22-26 of the study and p. 8-9 of the short version) which were applied to a total of 14 frameworks, including the Economy for the Common Good balance sheet. For the latter, the evaluation results are very positive (see link "Results page"). The long version of the study (322 pages) is in German, short versions of 15 pages are available in German and English.

→ Report and links  IASS
Results page
→ Extensive report in "Süddeutsche" (DE)

II. Economy for the Common Good 

Vienna opens up to ECG

It took almost 10 years for the city of origin of the ECG movement to open its doors to it. Although the common good balance has been promoted by the city's eco-business program for years, there has not yet been an official cooperation. After a total of six informal introductory and preparatory meetings, we were welcomed by the City Councilor for Economic Affairs, Peter Hanke, in the town hall's “Volkshalle” on July 2nd - a 20-person delegation of pioneering companies and association representatives. It was agreed that a permanent working group would be set up, with an agenda of five project ideas. The first meeting took place on September 30th - shortly before the municipal council elections. 

Ökobusiness Wien

First common good city in Germany

Other cities are already one step further: On September 2nd, Steinheim in Westphalia was the first city in the world to be certified as a city for the common good - I had the honor of handing over the certificate personally - not to Mayor Carsten Torke, who unfortunately got sick, but to the chamberlain Heinz-Josef Senneka. For the ECG movement, this premiere came like an early birthday present. 

→ Pre-report in Westfalenblatt (DE)
→ Report in Westfalenblatt (DE)
→ 2-page report in Frankfurter Rundschau (DE)
Official celebration to rewatch (DE)
→ Interview with co-manager of Gemeinwohl-Region Höxter Christian Einsiedel (DE)

10 years ECG!

ECG’s 10th birthday fell inmidst of successive lockdowns. We are now through the start-up phase. Almost 5,000 active people in 33 countries help build towards a common good orientation in companies, communities, cities, schools and universities. In Germany alone we approach 100 regional groups, and more and more people want to actively contribute to change. Unlike the 5-year festival, which took place “centrally” in Vienna’s Volkstheater, this time we celebrated our anniversary decentrally, in many different places. I myself took part in the celebration in Vienna and in my home town of Salzburg. In Vienna we were honored by local councilors from the Greens (Martin Margulies) and the SPÖ (Kurt Stürzenbecher), they outdid each other with ideas for the election program. The NEOS then made the race, but at least the term “common good economy” made it into the government program. In Salzburg we celebrated in the Hotel Auersperg and then in the Trumer Brewery, with a midnight swim in Lake Obertrumer. 

→ Internal Review
→ Recording of the discussion in Vienna (DE)
→ Video from young ECG activists in Brighton
→ New introductory video on ECG in English (2 min.)

More and more companies apply the common good balance

The number of companies that use the common good balance sheet is increasing sharply. The highlights of the Corona year were two press conferences during the lockdown break in Upper Austria - with Braucommune, Saphenus and WiEHAG - and Salzburg with a total of 28 pioneering companies. Prominent newcomers are e.g. in Schleswig-Holstein north adelby1, in Wendland Völkel Juices, and Biokaiser in Wiesbaden. We are also pleased about the new common good municipality Postbauer-Heng in Bavaria, by unanimous resolution of the municipal council, and about the balance sheet of ForstBW, the state forestry company of Baden-Württemberg.

→ Report in Tips, Oberösterreichischen Nachrichten and meinbezirk.at (all DE)
→ Report inn Salzburger Nachrichten and Regional-SN (all DE)

European LEADER project on ECG in preparation

A particularly promising project for the Europe-wide expansion, networking and regional roots of ECG is emerging on the LEADER track. The Luxembourgish LEADER manager Fons Jacques got the ball rolling and brought the existing, emerging or future regions of the common good together and set up a joint process. It started with a conference at the invitation of the German Networking Agency for Rural Areas, in which half a dozen of regional ECG projects took part. The short reports from the local actors on the well-documented page are worth listening to.

Documentation (DE)
Contact: Fons Jacques: leader2e@education.lu

III. Common Good Cooperative

Savings account and account for students

It goes on step by step. Soon there will be 700 common good accounts on the market. Since September there has also been the option of opening a savings account and a common good account for students: Spread the message and open accounts!

Common Good Account

New strategy: Common good account in your bank!

Or ask your bank whether they set up a common good account for you and other people to whom sustainability and ethical values ​​are important! The Common Good Cooperative offers the necessary advisory services based on the successful prototype with the Raiffeisenbank Gunskirchen's "Umweltcenter" (in Upper Austria). Our idea is that in the foreseeable future every bank will offer a common good account, just as every supermarket now has an organic track. It is sufficient that the corresponding “common good center” (a sustainable accounting circuit within the bank's balance sheet) starts with 1% of the balance sheet total and grows slowly - to the extent that the economy as a whole becomes more sustainable: an Economy for the Common Good. 

Prominent discussion about "green money"

On the invitation of the VBV pension fund, I discussed with the Austrian minister for Climate Protection, Leonore Gewessler, the CEO of the Vienna Stock Exchange Christoph Boschan and other experts on "Green Money: Does It Really Exist?". The multi-faceted discussion moderated by sustainability expert Gabriele Faber-Wiener can be viewed here.

Short version (DE)
Long version (DE)

IV. Politics

Common good balance in Austria's SDG implementation report

After the common good balance sheet was presented as a good practice for the implementation of the SDGs at the UNECE conference in Geneva last year, it has now also made it into the Austrian implementation report - and thus on the website of the Federal Chancellery. This is a consolation for the ECG, but overall the report fell short of the expectations of the NGOs.

→ Common good balance on BKA-Website
Press release by Ökobüro additional to report

Politicians from different parties discuss ECG

In accordance with our strictly non-partisan attitude, the ECG movement tries to find its way into all democratic parties - which we are increasingly succeeding in. Most recently, I had various conversations at a higher level with representatives of different parties. Red: On August 31, the parliamentary left in the SPD parliamentary group invited me to present the ECG. Green: EU-MEP Anna Deparnay-Grunenberg discussed with me on October 14th about the possibilities of the ECG in the European Union. Black: The former Dutch Prime Minister, Jan-Peter Balkenende, set out on behalf of four Dutch universities in search of the economic model of the future. As a start, thought leaders were invited to two-person panels to discuss their visions. Joseph Stiglitz started with Herman Van Rompuy. I was allowed to participate in the last panel together with Luigi Zingales, Professor of Finance at the Chicago Business School. May Mister Balkenende design something fruitful from these inputs! 

→ Talk with Anna Deparnay Grunenberg
→ Felber/Zingales: „Can a different market economy work in practice?
Future Markets Consultation Project

Vision of a sovereign democracy

The cooperation with Mehr Demokratie e.V. is getting deeper. After several previous invitations, this time I was invited to present my vision of a “sovereign democracy” at the association's 2020 congress. Corona luck: At first I had to cancel because I had already agreed to the Heiligenfeld Clinics for this year's congress. However, due to Covid this was postponed to 2021, and Mehr Demokratie switched to an online format. So now both became possible! 

→ My vision of a sovereign democracy (DE)

V. Networking

Network on Economic Transformation

After several years of preparation, six alternative economic approaches - degrowth/post growth, commons, Economy for the Common Good, solidarity economy, collaborative/co-creative economy and freedom of exchange logic - wrote a common narrative and went public with a joint website in May. With this, we want to show the German-speaking public interested in a sustainable transformation that some of the alternatives with the most resonance are in exchange, relate to one another and cooperate. If the FFF movement or the Corona crisis made people aware of concrete opportunities for socio-economic transformation, they will receive a compact overview of such initiatives here. We want to expand the circle concentrically and make the mosaic more multifaceted. 

Network on Economic Transformation NOW (DE)
English summary
Launch-Webinar (DE)

Summer of Purpose in Munich

Hans Reitz is a creative mind, circus scout and the “general importer” of Muhammad Yunus in Germany. On the occasion of the Covid 19 crisis, his Cerc team organized a "Summer of Purpose" at the Munich trade fair, which became a hub for international celebrities. Following advice from our mutual friend Fritz Lietsch, founder and editor-in-chief of “forum nachhaltig Wirtschaften”, I was invited to present the Economy for the Common Good. In the end, ECG managed to become one of the three big recommendations. In a deep-dive workshop, I discussed with Christian Heller, the managing director of the Value Balancing Alliance, about Reporting vs. Accounting. This resulted in a blog post for the IASS website. 

Summer of Purpose
→ Blog post on Reporting vs. Accounting

VI. Books

Hungarian edition of the Economy for the Common Good

ECG has been translated in the now 12th language: Hungarian, published in November by Pallas Athéné Books.

A közjó gazdasága

ECG in The Next Systems Reader

Together with Gus Hagelberg, a native Californian colleague in the ECG Management Team, I contributed a chapter about the ECG in "The Next Systems Reader. Alternatives to a Failed Economy", which compilates in a rare completeness all major existing alternative economic models and practices. Gus Speth and Kathleen Courrier from "The Next System Project" coordinated this unique collection.

→ The book at Routledge

Trading for Good

Presentations of the English edition of “Ethischer Welthandel” - “Trading for Good” - are currently not that easy, so I am all the more grateful that at least two web presentations came about in quick succession, once at the invitation of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance and once as part of the Festivals for Change.

→ WeALL Talk 27 July 2020
→ Festival for Change 31 July 2020

This is not economy

A video recording of the book presentation and panel discussion at Berlin's Humboldt University in February with Steffen Lange, Ulrich Petschow and the host Cornelia Kühn is now available. In addition, a review appeared on tabularasa on June 2nd.

Recording Humboldt-Universität (DE)
→ review on tabularasa (DE)
→ All reviews of „This is not economy

VII. Travels

Swimming in Ticino

Ticino had been music in my ears for a long time, I was in awe when I found out that the popular initiative to limit the maximum income to twelve times the minimum income achieved a majority in 6 of the 8 districts in Ticino; 49.03 votes in all of Ticino % for limiting inequality. The main reason for my vacation trip were rustic mountain streams, which are too cold for many bathers, and the summer outside temperatures and heated giant stones for baking, grilling and chilling. The highlight in the truest sense was the jump from the “Ponte die salti” from 14 meters: an initiation. 

→ Pics from Verzasca Valley
Ponte dei Salti

Holland hat trick

Probably as a result of a lengthy report in the renowned Vrij magazine in April of this year, it rained half a dozen invitations from the Netherlands. In September I took part in the Springtij Festival, the largest sustainability get-together in Holland, which despite the worsening Covid-19 situation still took place with 500 participants - outdoors. In a plenary lecture with Art Verbrugge and a workshop on “Measuring economic success differently” with Michel Scholte from the Impact Economy Foundation and a Springtij Café TV Talk with Sofie van den Enk - an unforgettable experience on a beautiful island! The Brainwash Festival followed in October, which due to the corona will only be broadcast on public TV. And in November, the Congress of Wetsus completed the hat trick, a company that uses technologies to purify drinking water around the world. In the forefront of the event, 15 regional leaders from Fryslan and Holland North met to exchange ideas about a “Common Good Region Holland North”. That gives hope! 

→ Some impressiones from the Springtij Festival and of mine
→ My contribution to the Brainwash-Festivals on December 13th in the Dutch TV

VIII. Media coverage

Own texts

→ 25.8. Opinion piece „Wertvolle Wirtschaftswissenschaft“ in Wiener Zeitung (DE)
→ 9.8. Three questions to Covid-19 crisis in forum Nachhaltig Wirtschaften (DE)
→ 22.10. Opinion piece „Brot, Fleisch und Kapital“ in Der Standard (DE)


→ 12.5. Interview by Bernward Geier in Schrot & Korn (DE)
→ 27.5. Interview by Veit Lindau (DE)
→ 5.8. NDR-Interview „Krise als Chance – Auf zur Gemeinwohlwirtschaft?“ (DE)
→ 19.10. Interveiw with Sparda München-CEO Helmut Lind in Sonntagsblatt (DE)

Reports on ECG

→ 23.5. Double-portrait with Maja Göpel in Spiegel: „Letzte Ausfahrt Corona“ (DE)
→ 26.7. „Necesitamos un confinamiento del capital especulativo“ in Crónicaglobal (ES)      
→ 10.8. Report on ECG Switzerland in Pfarrblatt Bern online (DE)
→ 24.8. Report „Nicht nur für den Profit wirtschaften“ in Deutschlandfunk (DE)
→ 25.8. Report „Die Wirtschaft vom Kopf auf die Füße stellen“ in option.news (DE)
→ 20.9. Report in CSR NEWS (DE)
→ Dec: Cover story in "Original" (DE)

All media coverage in various categories: christian-felber.at/en/press/in-the-media/

IX. Action!

Become a member of the Common Good Cooperative!
The Common Good Cooperative is happy about every new member and account opening! (German)
Become a cooperative
Open a Common Good Current Account

Become an ECG member!
Als ECG is happy about new members and donations!
Become a member
Donate now

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