Start Date: Season 1 March 2024   Format: Monthly Interactive Online Webinars with Interactive Plenary Discussions


Programme Impact

A Unique Inquiry To Transform Our Economy

unique GUESTS

The Leaders for Humanity Masterclass aims to address the complex challenges leaders face today by nurturing ethical literacy and cultivating practical wisdom. Guided by our “Leaders for Humanity” interviews with highly distinguished global thought leaders, participants will embark on a profound journey to redefine 'good' leadership.

unique insPIRATION

Together with our engaged audience, we'll systematically explore the underlying premises, shed light on practical implications, and unveil the strengths and weaknesses of innovative approaches. Our discussions will span ethical principles, the role of institutions, and practical change strategies to make our economy a little bit better every day!

A Global Challenge

There is no denial: capitalism is in crisis. Our prevailing economic model, once celebrated as a beacon of liberal enlightenment, now stands accused of complicity in a myriad of societal challenges, resulting in unprecedented ecological and social damage. Deep anxiety permeates society, fuelled by profound concerns about the state of the world and a growing disillusionment with the dominant narrative of progress. Yet, most people still operate within the implicit acceptance of growth-based consumer capitalism, a system in which shareholder profits ultimately dominate decisions that impact the lives of every citizen, the health of the Earth, and the fate of future generations. Current policy proposals continue to fall short, often remaining within the confines of the existing paradigm rather than questioning the system itself. Yet, alternatives exist. Across the globe, courageous individuals and communities contribute to a global shift towards better business, exploring innovative ideas such as the resurgence of the commons, the degrowth movement, ecofeminism, civil economics, and more. Frederic Jameson once famously remarked: "It's easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism." Our intention is to prove him wrong!

Our Shared Journey of Exploration

In a challenging landscape of ideological rigidity and widespread misinformation, "Business for Humanity" aims to provide a credible, inspirational and engaging platform to promote, develop and spread alternative economic models.

  • We will showcase a wide range of compelling alternative approaches to economics and finance that promise a more sustainable and just society.
  • Together with an interested audience, we will seek to uncover the premises and worldviews underlying each of these approaches, shed light on practical implications and real-world examples, and explore their possible strengths and weaknesses. Our discussions will encompass ethical principles, the pivotal role of public and economic institutions, and the responsibilities of businesses and individuals.
  • Throughout the series, we will seek to crystalize the fundamentals for a "good economy" and inspire collective action, guiding businesses and business leaders toward becoming a force for good.
All the sessions will be publicly available - we aspire to serve as a robust reference library and educational resource, for both researchers and practitioners.

Personal and Actionable Insights

This new series is crafted to appeal to a broad and diverse audience in mind, including Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders seeking inspiration for socially responsible entrepreneurship, Policy Makers and Economists shaping economic policies, Students and Academics exploring emerging economic paradigms, Socially Conscious Consumers, NGOs, Activists, Innovators, Journalists, and the General Public! In a nutshell, it welcomes anyone intrigued by progressive economic models aligned with ethical, sustainable practices and a positive societal impact. Whether you're seeking credible practical proposals or simply looking to gain a better understanding, this series promises insights for all.

Programme content

Business for Humanity Webseries

Boost your ability to make a positive impact on your company, society and the planet.


Deepen your understanding of ecological, societal and economic transformation.


A UNIQUE exploration of economic paradigms

Embark on an engaging journey with us during our monthly Business for Humanity sessions to discover economics beyond the standard textbook! Each session is crafted as a collaborative inquiry, featuring a structured format to make the exploration of alternative economic frameworks both insightful and interactive:

  • Inspiration: Experience a brief introduction and presentation of the alternative framework by the author.
  • Clarification: Dive into an in-depth Q&A session with the author. Audience questions from the chat are welcomed.
  • Meta Reflection: Participate in a critical analysis of the framework within the broader inquiry.
  • Generative Dialogue: Engage in an integrative plenary. Explore key takeaways and discuss how to translate the learnings into actionable insights.
Each block lasts around 30 minutes, making the entire session approximately 120 minutes. Watch the intro video with Kees Klomp and Silvio Christoffel!

OVERVIEW OF PRINCIPLE-BASED APPROACHES

PROSPERITY ECONOMICS

TIM JACKSON

DEGROWTH ECONOMICS

JASON HICKEL

DOUGNHUT ECONOMICS

KATE RAWORTH

ECONOMY FOR THE COMMON GOOD

CHRISTIAN FELBER

ECONOMIC DEMOCRACY

PETER TURKSON

SOLIDARITY ECONOMY

PETER UTTING

LIVING EARTH ECONOMY

DAVID KORTEN

wellbeing economics

ROBERT COSTANZA

civil economy

STEFANO ZAMAGNI

BLENDED FINANCE

JED EMERSON

ISLAMIC FINANCE

HANS VISSER

ETHICAL CAPITALISM

JULIAN RICHER

overview of MARKET-BASED APPROACHES

civil economy

STEFANO ZAMAGNI

(RADICAL) CIRCULAR ECONOMY

KEES VAN KALVEEN

GROW THE PIE

ALEX EDMANS

NET POSITIVE

PAUL POLMAN

POOR ECONOMICS

ESTHER DUFLO

overview of COMMUNITY-BASED/INTUITIONIST APPROACHES

ECONOMICS OF HAPPINESS

HELENA NORBERG-HODGE

CARING ECONOMY

RIANE EISLER

PEER TO PEER ECONOMICS

MICHAEL BAUWENS

BUDDHIST ECONOMICS

CLAIR BROWN

BUDDHIST ECONOMICS

SULAK SIVARAKSA

GREEN FINANCE

ANN PETTIFOR

GREEN ECONOMICS

JOSCHKA FISCHER

EUROPEAN GREEN DEAL

FRANS TIMMERMANS

Feminist Economics

Julie A. Nelson

Wellbeing Economics

Katherine Trebeck

overview of DEMOCRACY-BASED/SOCIALIST APPROACHES

SOCIALIST ECONOMICS

PAUL ADLER

Collective Courage

Jessica Gordon Nembhard

faculty

Combining Research, Practice and Activism

Gain access to the very latest insights from decades of management research.


Build on hands-on lessons learned from social and business transformation.


Kees Klomp
Professor, Activist Researcher & Uneconomist

University of Windesheim
Image Description
Antoinette Weibel
Professor for HRM and Organisation

University of St. Gallen
Otti Vogt
Former Chief Transformation Officer

Good Leadership Society

THE INQUIRY STRUCTURE

We strongly believe that culture (ethical values and epistemological concepts), social structures, and behaviours are intricately interdependent, forming a distinctive "action logic" that drives the performance of a given system. To truly comprehend or influence an economic model, we must therefore delve into the core, exploring not just the visible outcomes but also the generative mechanisms beneath the surface. With this philosophy, we embark on a comprehensive journey of inquiry, scrutinizing each alternative approach. Our aim is to unravel the values and principles behind the approaches, trace the translation of values into institutions, and uncover the levers they intend to pull for tangible transformations within the existing system.


vALUES - INSTITUTIONS - CHANGE

In our series we invite our global audience to explore each suggested framework asking a number of apparently simple questions: 

  1. Values: What are the underlying values (and ethics) of each approach? How does it compare or differ from other proposals?
  2. Institutions (Solution Design): How are values translated into institutions and systemic interventions? Is the solution design addressing the most important levers?
  3. People & Change: How is the existing system transformed towards the proposed solution? What practical proof points exist? What can we all do to help?

Alongside the examination of the specifics of each model, we will also seek to further our inquiry about "good organisations". We will ask for each approach:

  • Corporate Citizenship: What is the role and responsibility of businesses in each model? What is a "good organisation"?
  • Good Economy: How does the suggested solution support the evolution of such responsible and "good organisations"? How does it address current challenges? (e.g. regulation, taxation, change in market structures or legal frameworks etc)
  • Good Leadership: How should businesses and business leaders enable the desired changes? What does it imply for leadership development?

We will further refine our inquiry approach before commencing the interviews. 

Unraveling the intricacies of each model is a crucial step, but the true challenge lies in crafting a viable strategy for the collective transformation of our current system. Consequently, our discussions will not only dissect individual models but also ignite a parallel "meta" conversation. This secondary discourse will focus on the possibilities of synergizing various models and ideas, cultivating a more potent collective movement for transformative change. By exploring the intersections and harmonies between diverse approaches, we aspire to forge a path towards a comprehensive and impactful vision for the future.


BASIC DEFINITIONS

Political economy

Political economy is a multidisciplinary field that combines insights from economics, political science, and sociology to analyze the relationships between political and economic structures in a society. It explores how political institutions, ideologies, and processes impact economic policies and outcomes, and vice versa. Political economy examines the distribution of power, resources, and wealth within a society, considering factors such as government policies, institutions, class dynamics, and global influences. The field seeks to understand the complex interplay between political and economic forces, investigating how these forces shape economic decision-making, policy formation, and social outcomes. Political economy provides a framework for analyzing the role of politics in economic processes and addressing issues of governance, inequality, and development.

Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is an economic and political philosophy that gained prominence in the mid-20th century. Rooted in free-market capitalism, it advocates for minimal government intervention in the economy, promoting free markets, deregulation, privatization, and limited government involvement. Neoliberalism emphasizes individual liberty, arguing that free markets are the most efficient way to allocate resources. Supporters believe it fosters economic growth and innovation, while critics contend it can lead to increased inequality, social injustice, and environmental neglect.

Capitalism

Capitalism is an economic and social system characterized by private ownership of the means of production, where individuals or corporations own and control businesses for profit. In a capitalist system, the allocation of resources, production, and distribution of goods and services is primarily driven by market forces such as supply and demand. The price mechanism, competition, and the pursuit of profit are fundamental features of capitalism. It contrasts with planned economies where the state or collective ownership plays a central role in economic decision-making.

Programme schedule & registration

Join our sessions at any time

Our open interview sessions are hosted live on zoom video every month.


Places are limited and registration is strongly recommended.


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Please fill in our short registration form to receive the invitation with zoom details and exclusive access to resources for each session!

leadership society

See what else we have to offer

Business for Humanity is our monthly webcast series dedicated to exploring alternatives to capitalism. We interview global thought leaders on economic models that promise greater sustainability, and critically examine them in our ongoing meta inquiry with an interested community

Leaders for Humanity and Leaders for Humanity Masterclass represent our PhD-level research where we engage with exceptional minds to explore the development of good leaders and organizations. This series provides extensive resources and background reading materials.

The Flourishing Manifesto is a global initiative uniting HR and business leaders, consultants, and researchers in a collaborative effort to redefine performance management as a catalyst for responsible business transformation and leadership.

"Business as a Force for Good" is our pilot program developed in collaboration with Duke University, designed to create a practical module for responsible leadership education, with a particular focus on business and MBA students.

Never miss a FREE SESSION! Subscribe to our Leadership Society Bulletin for the latest news on all upcoming sessions, including access to video recordings and materials! (Automatically included with registration)

session archive (click on the image to access all materials)

Missed a Session?

Find here all the recordings from our live sessions within 7-14 days after the event.


Explore a curated set of pre-readings, further materials and deep dives.


KEES KLOMP
"We are only as good as the stories we tell."
existential economics

KEES KLOMP

Thriving Beyond Capitalism?


Do genuine alternatives to capitalism truly exist, and can they effectively operate? Should capitalism be replaced, or is reform a more viable option? Which of the many proposals are worth looking into? Learn more about Kees's bestseller "Thrive" and join the conversation as we frame our inquiry and set out to provide clarity amidst the myriad of ideas and approaches available!

KEES KLOMP
"Cooperation instead of competition."
ecg

christian felber

Is There An Economy For The Common Good?


Christian Felber is the founder of the Economy for the Common Good. His ideas have already brought together over 4,500 companies, municipalities, universities and private individuals. What are the foundations of his "economic model of the future" and what is the common good anyway? Join us as we explore these questions in an exciting edition of Business for Humanity.

alex edmans
An unequal distribution of something is almost always better than an equal distribution of nothing.
pieconomics

alex edmans

Can Capitalism Be Saved?

Alex Edmans is a distinguished Professor of Finance at London Business School, renowned for his expertise in corporate finance, responsible business, and behavioral finance. He advocates for Pieconomics, a radical mindset shift poised to reshape business for the mutual benefit of investors and society alike.

helena norberg-hodge
For our species to have a future, it must be local.
economics of happiness

helena norberg-hodge

Is It Time To Go Local?

Helena Norberg-Hodge is a winner of the Right Livelihood Award and renowned for her expertise in  sustainable economies. She argues that we must make a straightforward choice between reconnecting deeply with each other and nature, or perpetuating a path of inequality, isolation, and environmental degradation

resources

Looking for further insights?

If your curiosity has been sparked and the anticipation for our upcoming live sessions is getting the better of you, fear not! We've got a treasure trove of captivating content waiting for you right now. 


Dive into the world of thought-provoking articles, engaging blog posts, and enlightening interviews from our sibling podcast project, "Leaders for Humanity."


This book provides insights into alternative approaches to economics that are sustainable and just for both society and the planet in the long term. In twenty-four essays, internationally renowned economic thinkers like Kate Raworth, Charles Eisenstein, Clair Brown, Helena Norberg-Hodge and Daniel C. Wahl share the alternatives that are available to us such as doughnut economics, wellbeing economics, common good economics, regenerative economics, buddhist economics, commons economics, local economics, bioregional economics, indigenous economics and degrowth economics. Each of these approaches provides a realistic and enticing vision of a thriving future.

In this paper we identify two missing dimensions of the Human Capabilities Approach (HCA) – the collective and the productive – and in doing so we advance a ‘productionist’ perspective on development, centred around the idea of ‘collective productive capabilities’. Bringing production back to the core of the development agenda calls for an integration of the HCA and those contributions which have focused their attention on the social, economic and institutional processes of learning, centred
around productive organisations and systems. The lack of this focus on collective productive capabilities undermined the Millenium Development Goals Agenda and is still having negative impacts on the ways in which the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda is understood and implemented.

The paper offers a wide-angle view of ethics and welfare through the lens of ‘moral economy’. It examines economic activities in relation to a view of welfare as well-being, and to ethics in terms of economic justice. Rather than draw upon abstract ideal theories such as Rawlsian or Capabilities approaches, it calls for an evaluation of actually existing sources of harm and benefit in neoliberal capitalism. It argues that we need to look behind economic outcomes in terms of how much money different people have, examine their economic relations to others, and evaluate the justifications of these relations and their associated rights and practices. It distinguishes three sources of income – earned income, transfers, and unearned income, and argues that the last of these has no functional or ethical justification but has major implications for welfare. It then comments on the policy implications of the argument, including brief comments on asset-based welfare and universal basic income policies, and concludes.

While the notion of degrowth has gained traction in recent times, scholarship on degrowth transformations has yet to provide a conceptualisation that captures key attributes of what such transformations entail: (1) the reduction of some items and the expansion of others and (2) profound changes in various dimensions of social being, including in how humans interact with nature, non-humans, and one another, changes in social structures and changes in how we are as human beings. The present paper develops a comprehensive and non-reductionist conceptualisation of degrowth, understanding it to involve deep transformations on four interrelated planes of social being: material transactions with nature, social interactions between persons, social structure, and people's inner being. On each plane, these transformations consist in reducing, and ultimately absenting, some currently existing items while expanding others. The paper considers the implications of the conceptualisation for degrowth practice and theorising, focusing on top-down eco-social policies, bottom-up initiatives and self-transformation. It is found that degrowth would benefit from considering more seriously the effects of policies and initiatives across all four planes and from acknowledging diversity on each plane. Moreover, it is concluded that more attention should be paid to the plane of peoples' inner being.

This paper addresses the role of neoclassical methodologies in ecological economics and the contradictions these methodologies pose to the field's critical founding principles. We first consider Robert Costanza's treatment of Nicholas Stern's Global Deal and then survey climate change-related articles published in this journal over the past five years. This survey reveals how mainstream (neoclassical) methodologies dominate discourse, and do so by marginalizing more critical (political economy) analyses. This situation imperils the field's founding vision of a no-growth ‘steady state’; it also fails to address the (related) growth dynamics of capitalism. Without such a critical treatment, the field's formal embrace of ‘methodological pluralism’ actually entails an ideological empiricism that renders ecological economics theoretically incoherent. This situation undermines the field's historical promise as an alternative economic paradigm. Ecological economics now faces a problematic future. Its survival in a form faithful to its founding vision will require an explicit choice to address its internal contradictions, and reinvent itself in ways relevant to our contemporary context. Without such a choice, ecological economics will likely succumb to an implicit acceptance of the hegemony of mainstream economic methodologies and their pro-growth imperatives.

This essay reviews the development of approaches within the comparative capitalisms (CC) literature and points to three theoretical innovations which, taken together, define and distinguish these approaches as a group. First, national economies are characterized by distinct institutional configurations that generate a particular systemic “logic” of economic action. Second, the CC literature suggests a theory of comparative institutional advantage in which different institutional arrangements have distinct strengths and weaknesses for different kinds of economic activity. Third, the literature has been interpreted to imply a theory of institutional path dependence. Behind these unifying characteristics of the literature, however, lie a variety of analytical frameworks and typologies of capitalism. This paper reviews and compares these different frameworks by highlighting the fundamental distinctions among them and drawing out their respective contributions and limitations in explaining economic performance and institutional dynamics. The paper concludes that the way forward for this literature lies in developing a more dynamic view of individual institutions, the linkages between domains, and the role of politics and power.

Scholars and activists mobilize increasingly the term degrowth when producing knowledge critical of the ideology and costs of growth-based development. Degrowth signals a radical political and economic reorganization leading to reduced resource and energy use. The degrowth hypothesis posits that such a trajectory of social transformation is necessary, desirable, and possible; the conditions of its realization require additional study. Research on degrowth has reinvigorated the limits to growth debate with critical examination of the historical, cultural, social, and political forces that have made economic growth a dominant objective. Here we review studies of economic stability in the absence of growth and of societies that have managed well without growth. We reflect on forms of technology and democracy compatible with degrowth and discuss plausible openings for a degrowth transition. This dynamic and productive research agenda asks inconvenient questions that sustainability sciences can no longer afford to ignore.

The concept of ‘wellbeing economy’ (WE), that is, an economy that pursues human and ecological wellbeing instead of material growth, is gaining support amongst policymakers, business, and civil society. Over the past couple of years, several national governments have adopted the WE as their guiding framework to design development policies and assess social and economic progress. While it shares a number of basic principles with various post-growth conceptualisations, the WE's language and concepts tend to be more adaptable to different social and economic contexts, thus penetrating into policy processes and connecting to a variety of cultural traits, not only in advanced economies but also in less industrialised nations. In this paper, we describe the key features of the WE, including its approach to key concepts like work, productivity and technology and several examples of its policy impact. We conclude by positing that the WE framework may be one of the most effective bases to mainstream post-growth policies at the national and global level.

The paper deals with the recent resurgence of interest in the concept of “socialism” from an economic perspective. The most significant contemporary proposals for a new model of socialism are surveyed across five major thematic areas: socialism as a voluntary endeavor and socialist ethics; socialism as a process of democratization; socialism, efficiency and profit maximization; the problem of planning and the new calculation debate; and, socialism as a means versus socialism as an end. A common framework to assess the new blueprints is constructed to identify the likely directions of the research on these themes in the near future.

To explain the frequent failures of current CSR practices and to explore the possibilities of remedying them, I examine the close relationship between CSR, the persistent expansion of capitalism, and the pressure that capitalism puts on companies to legitimize their business operations. My analysis shows that the failure of CSR to serve as a corrective to the problematic effects of capitalism is, in fact, an inevitable consequence of the problematic dynamics of the capitalist system. On this basis, I suggest that capitalism limits the possibilities of making CSR more effective, argue for change on the systemic level of capitalism, and explore the ways in which CSR research can contribute to this political endeavor.

Universal ownership theory proposes that widely diversified investors, who own a broad-based stake in the economy, can have a financial self-interest in reducing market-wide risks relating to environmental or social (ES) issues. Universal owner theory therefore provides a way to justify the active pursuit of ES goals, without the need for an explicit ES mandate from clients. This paper sets out a double test for determining whether universal owner theory justifies investor action in a given case. First, the outcome sought should have a credible pathway to enhance risk-adjusted returns at the portfolio level. Second, investors must have efficacy to achieve the outcome without exposing clients to excessive costs and risks. We examine these tests in the context of climate change. When applied to the case of the commonly adopted goal of limiting global warming to 1.5C, universal owner theory runs into problems on both tests.

In this paper, I analyze the moral responsibilities that companies have with regard to the development of their sector, especially when there are path dependences that can lead sectors on more or less morally acceptable paths, e.g., with regard to market access for disadvantaged groups. The interdependencies between companies in a sector are underexplored in the literature on
corporate social responsibility (CSR). Reflections on the normative status of profit-seeking and on the normative bases of CSR, however, provide us with reasons for seeing sector-related responsibilities as an important component of CSR.

do you have further questions?

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INSTITUTE OF WORK AT UNI ST. GALLEN Institute for Work and Employment Research University of St. Gallen