Crowning a long period of active hibernation
On the 9th of March, 2020 the Erasmus Initiative for the Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity (DoIP) organized two key events in its still relatively young existence. In the morning, it appointed 23 research associates with whom it collaborates to further research on themes relevant to its inclusive prosperity agenda. In the afternoon, jointly with Economic Summit, it officially established the Centre for Economics of Mutuality (CEM) as the Dutch leg of the international Economics of Mutuality (EoM) movement headquartered in Geneva with Erasmus University Rotterdam acting as its academic leg. It also invited EoM founder Bruno Roche to give a keynote and installed him as senior research fellow. This all happened dangerously on the verge of a comprehensive lockdown that made similar large-scale events impossible for roughly a year and a half. We went underground all this time, but mind you – we are about to come back with a vengeance. For we used these 18 memorable months as an incubation period for these initiatives to ripen thoroughly.
A research agenda against heatwaves
Look at us now. We are alarmingly close to taking our facemasks off and are bracing for a new series of significant undertakings and large-scale events. DoIP’s academic team, its postdocs and PhD students can be spotted on campus more and more frequently; its scientific director is preparing his inaugural lecture to be held on November the 12th on how he sees inclusive prosperity’s future research agenda; Bruno Roche and several other prominent members of the EoM community will be coming over to Rotterdam during the week of November 22nd for a number of high profile visits and workshops in the Netherlands, including at Erasmus University Rotterdam; DoIP is engaged in serious talks to co-fund and recruit new postdocs and PhD students on inclusive economic growth models for Asia with the prestigious Asia Foundation, EoM and CEM as partners, as well as on the introduction and implementation of the Economics of Mutuality concept among Dutch SMEs. Inclusive prosperity, inclusive wealth, inclusive capitalism, stakeholder capitalism, circular economics, economics of mutuality, Rhineland model, Asian model, social inclusion, purpose-driven enterprises, sustainable corporate governance, participatory legal systems and Anthropocene living conditions. We have known the names of our enemies for long, but it appears that we are less certain on the names of our friends. That is why we need a clearer direction in our research agenda. What we do know is that we mean business this time, and that we do want our sustainable and inclusive philosophy to become law in the coming years. For that we need good fundamental research internally and powerful public sector, private sector and civil society partners externally to maximize our impact. Could it be any other way, with socio-economic inequality rising steeply and climate turbulence exceeding the most alarming forecasts? Are there alternatives at all to forestall a great variety of heatwaves striking at our societies in the coming years?
Last call for the public sector
In line with the events and projects DoIP is organizing for the coming months and years, I have written a contribution on inclusive capitalism in which I bring innovative ideas generated in the fields of economics and business administration together, and where I call on my own original discipline – public administration – to formulate an intellectual response to them. Many private sector organizations are willing to transition towards social and environmental inclusion, but they cannot do it by themselves. They need active encouragement and intervention from government to force their reluctant peers to follow suit and create a level playing field. The article features many protagonists in the field and aims at synthesizing their concepts. May it lead to a challenging cross-disciplinary debate and eventually structural action.