"Decent Capitalism": FES-Shanghai supports a new growth paradigm

Event: Sustainable Growth Model

On May 11th and may 12th 2014, FES-Shanghai held several book launches and lectures on the topic Crises and Opportunities of Capitalism with Prof. Hansjörg Herr and Prof. Guo Jiannan. During the lectures the newly-translated book "Decent Capitalism - A Blueprint for Reforming our Economies" was presented which Prof. Herr had coauthored with Sebastian Dullien and Christian Kellermann.

Photo: Book cover

Prof. Herr works at the Department of Business and Economics at the Berlin School of Economics and Law. Prof. Guo, who had translated the work from English to Chinese, is an associate Professor of Economics at the Research Institute of Economics and Management at the South Western University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu. The translation of the book, published by Pluto Press in London, was funded by Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung China.

The book shines light on the problems of a deregulated capitalism, and suggests possible solutions. The authors argue that unregulated markets have led to increasing social inequality and overuse of ecological resources since the 1970s, and are threatening both social stability and long-term economic growth. They call for a more sustainable growth paradigm based on technological innovation, new strategies of public spending’s and a reform of the financial system.

This book is available as hardcopy on request at beijing(at)fes-china.org.

Photo: FES China

During their visit to Shanghai, Prof. Herr and Prof. Guo gave presentations at the Shanghai Academy of Social Science (SASS), the China Centre for Economic Studies (CCES), the Economic Department of the Shanghai Administration Institute (SAI) and the Development Research Centre. Each lecture included a speech and a discussion with the audience. In his speech, Prof. Herr addressed the main contents of the book with a special focus on China. He pointed out that China cannot just copy the political approaches of other countries, but needs to develop a more sustainable mode of accumulation on its own. The discussions evoked by Prof. Herr’s presentation varied as much as the audiences. The SASS participants emphasized the importance of trade unions in making labor markets more sustainable. The audience at the CCES, which primarily consisted of university students, focused on the classical economic writings Prof. Herr had referred to. The participants of the SAI shared Prof. Herr’s criticism of unregulated markets, but were also aware of overregulation. The participants at the Development Research Center discussed the dangers caused by an unequal distribution of social wealth, and ways to decrease inequality in China. Overall, the discussions have shown that developing a new growth paradigm is a difficult and multi-facetted endeavor, yet there is great interest in approaching this challenge.

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