International Conference “Growth in Transition” 2010
The International Conference “Growth in Transition” took place at the Auditorium of Science in Vienna on the 28th and 29th of January 2010.
Parallel Session 1: Money and the Financial System
In spite of massive countermeasures, the financial crisis has dramatic impacts on the real economy, the labour market and developing countries. Many financial causes of the crisis are under discussion: non-transparent financial innovations, lack of regulation, wrong inducements or too lax monetary policy; but also fundamental causes as the global imbalances or demand and supply of estate and resources. The boom led to bubbles, that finally burst and raised the question of the sustainability of growth itself.
The discussion will deal with the role of financial markets, what led to the current dominance of financial markets and which reforms might be useful.
→ Presentation by Mathias Binswanger (University of NW Switzerland)
→ Presentation by Robert Hill (University of Graz)
→ Video contribution by Bernard Lietaer (ACCESS Foundation)
→ Presentation by Helene Schuberth (Oesterreichische Nationalbank)
→ Summary of parallel session I
Parallel Session 2: Growth and Resource Use
Throughout the last centuries resource use of has been rising steadily in absolute terms. Although relative decoupling has taken place – one unit of GDP was produced with lower resource input – the achieved higher resource efficiency has been compensated by rising consumption.
The adjustment of the material use of big developing countries to the level of OECD-countries has generated a rapidly rising resource use just before the actual economic crisis. This development seems to have been interrupted which offers a structural chance of finding a new pathway. Possible outlines will be discussed.
Parallel Session 3: Social Justice and Poverty
We are confronted with a huge social challenge: there are still 2.5 billion people living on less than two US-Dollars a day. In spite of a partly positive development in countries like China or India, in 2009, more than one billion people were starving. In Europe, 16 % of the population are vulnerable to poverty. In most of the OECD countries, the income disparity has increased between 1980 and 2004. The trend concerning an uneven distribution of wealth has been even more dramatic.
The reasons for these trends and their consequences for our living together will be discussed. Furthermore, the question will be raised, how much inequality is tolerable or necessary for a society and how tax and levy systems can be suitably arranged.
→ Presentation by Michaela Moser (European Anti-Poverty Network)
→ Margit Schratzenstaller-Altzinger (WIFO): oral presentation
→ Presentation by Martin Schürz (Oesterreichische Nationalbank)
→ Presentation by Hans Steiner (Federal Ministry of Labour)
→ Summary of parallel session III
Parallel Session 4: Sustainable Production and Consumption
Sustainability plays an increasingly important role in product markets. Its effects are most strongly pronounced with respect to final consumption (e.g. organic products and fair trade products, low energy customer goods or those consumer goods, which have been produced in an ecological sustainable way). At present, developments in these areas are driven primarily by consumers and producers, rather than by politics.
The relationship between supply of and demand for sustainable products will be on the agenda of this session. Furthermore, the role of marketing, possibilities to improve sustainable behaviour of the market participants and the effects of the current crisis on sustainable products will be discussed.
→ Presentation by Nora Brüggemann (CSCP)
→ Presentation by Patrick O’Riordan (European Commission – DG Enterprise)
→ Presentation by Stefan Schleicher (University of Graz)
→ Summary of parallel session IV
Parallel Session 5: Regional Aspects
Major national and supra-national policies are regarded as relevant for economic growth, to which extent do regional policies matter in this debate? Regional economies are increasingly regarded as being linked with global trends, often described in threats posed by open markets less frequently with respect to new opportunities that globalisation offers. This raises the question if regions and cities still are the drivers of their own development and how they can at the same time benefit from the potentials of open economies and ensure long-term sustainability of prosperity and quality of life for their citizens.
This session will provide a platform for reflecting the subject of “Growth in Transition” from the regional angle – from the OECD level to concrete actions in selected Austrian regions.
→ Presentation by Andrew Davies (OECD)
→ Presentation by Robert Lukesch (ÖAR Consultants Ltd)
→ Presentation by Christian Steiner (Lower Austria, Unit “Rural Development”)
→ Presentation by Reinhard Troper (City of Vienna, MA 27)
→ Summary of parallel session V
Parallel Session 6: Macroeconomics for Sustainability
Economic growth has played a vital role in increasing our prosperity in the last decades. Under current economic arrangements, it is the only real answer to unemployment. It defuses distribution conflicts, facilitates public debt servicing and helps financing our social welfare systems. But economic growth does not only solve problems but can also be the cause of them. For instance, GDP growth is closely tied to the exploitation of (ever scarcer) natural resources. This results in great and irreversible environmental impact, ultimately endangering our economies and indeed our own existence (climate change, loss of biodiversity, increasing food prices, poverty etc.). The question arises how we can change existing arrangements that make our economy and society so dependent on growth.
The session aims at discussing the framework conditions for a “macroeconomics for sustainability” that is ecologically sustainable, socially just and capable of providing economic stability in the long run.
Parallel Session 7: Quality of Life Concepts and Measurement of Prosperity
The usual measuring of wealth and economic prosperity is mainly based on material dimensions and on average figures, primarily expressed by GDP. Questions of distribution and aspects that go beyond the material success are underexposed.
In this session, the question will be discussed, how the measurement of the standard of living can be changed to measuring of the quality of life, how the aspect of distribution can be better captured and which alternative indicators to GDP already exist. Additionally, questions of implementing new measuring concepts will be raised, including for example the feasibility of additional data gathering or the objectification of subjective information.
Parallel Session 8: Work
Under current conditions, 2-3% of economic growth per year is required to secure and create jobs in European economies. But even if one blinds out the ecological concerns about the desirability of economic growth, there is still big skepticism about the feasibility of lasting high growth rates in highly developed economies.
In this workshop the current situation will be discussed both in terms of quantity and quality of work as well as the future development. One aim is to debate solutions out of mass unemployment that are not solely based on economic growth. Work will also be discussed in a broader sense than formal employment.
→ Presentation by Ingrid Mairhuber (FORBA)
→ Presentation by Karl Pichelmann (European Commission – DG ECFIN)
→ Presentation by Christer Sanne (Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden)
→ Summary of parallel session VIII
Parallel Session 9: Governance
Qualitative and sustainable growth requires new ways of policymaking and is therefore always also a “governance reform agenda”. Based on the existing EU discourse on governance for sustainable development, the session will focus on the strengths and weaknesses of existing governance methods against the background of the requests of qualitative and sustainable growth.
The discussion will besides others deal with the question which governance methods can contribute most to a sustainable regulation of financial markets, an effective climate and environment protection and a successful employment policy in the long run and which players should be integrated in the specific governance proceedings. The role of the State, the levels of decision making and the possibilities of an appropriate rating in advance of policy measures concerning their sustainability will be discussed, too.
→ Presentation by Kurt Bayer (EBRD)
→ Presentation by Peter Dun (BEPA)
→Presentation by Detlef Sprinz (EEA, PIK)
→ Presentation by Christiana Weidel (The World of NGOs)
→ Summary of parallel session IX
Parallel Session 10: Sustainable Management
Qualitative and sustainable growth are determined in all areas of the economy by entrepreneurial behaviour. Quality of life in the working world and economic productivity with ecological and social responsibility will be practiced values of enterprises. How do enterprises manage to do sustainable business in the current crisis?
Input speeches of successful entrepreneurs will highlight sustainable management in practice – the implementation of a sustainable corporate concept, the installation of new business models in trouble areas and the every-day requirements in the co-operation with contractors, customers and personnel. Afterwards, participants are invited to discuss with entrepreneurs and managers on round tables in a “world café”.
→ Presentation by Ernst Gugler (gugler cross media)
→ Presentation by Johannes Gutmann (Sonnentor Ltd)
→ Präsentation von Robert Rogner (Rogner International Hotels & Resorts)
→ Presentation by Christine Zach (ÖAMTC Academy)
→ Summary of parallel session X