Social Innovation. Social Enterprise. Social Change.
Civil Society, State and Markets in the New Paradigm
Berlin 9-10 July 2012
Call for Contributions: deadline 31 March 2012
Hosted by: Civil Society Global Network
Around the globe, we are all searching for ways to empower citizens and communities, build new forms of enterprise and association, and develop new models of public governance.
For more than a century, political movements, governments and public policy have focussed almost exclusively on states and markets, and ignored civil society. Their working ideologies were framed in the century-long contest between market and state – the Right worked to increase the role of the market, the Left worked to increase the role of the state. Together, Left and Right supervised the uninterrupted expansion of both markets and states for five generations.
And as markets and states grew, the space available for civil society contracted and the value of its activity plummeted. Its output of community, self-help, mutual aid and social trust fell away. With the output of trust spiralling downwards, cynicism and detachment have spiralled upwards.
This long period of imbalance between civil society, states and markets is finally coming to an end. Social innovation and social enterprise are emerging around the globe as diverse initiatives that address this imbalance.
British Prime Minister David Cameron knows a Big Society is needed. But his government has little idea of how to change public policy in order to generate a stronger civil society.
Czech President Vaclav Klaus knows a stronger civil society is needed to counter the powerless individualism that has spread like a virus since 1989. But his government, too, has little idea of how to change things.
Around the world, we need to rework our assumptions about state and society, enterprise and business, personal and social responsibility, and reconfigure these elements with the benefit of historical insight in order to strengthen society.
This task is a major challenge to the Right's pre-occupation with market relationships and the Left's pre-occupation with citizen-state relationships. It requires a new public philosophy built around the strengthening of civil society to displace the twentieth century's exhausted traditions. What will this new public philosophy look like? Who will drive it? Who will lead it?
This international conference will explore these issues, with a focus on strategic perspectives which guide the search for solutions and new directions. You are warmly invited to participate in this important global conversation.