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Bridge-Builder

Bulletin n°2, September 2013 A BRIDGE-BUILDER: Paul Iordanow A THINKER: Ian Mason A PRACTITIONER: Tom Mahon CONFERENCE: International Conference ‘Imagine the Common Good’. Debates on: ‘Unity in Diversity’ NEWS: The notion of Common Good: People and the Governance of the Commons


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EDITORIAL By Violaine HACKER

The ‘Common Good Forum’ represents an Initiative to bring together experts and practitioners in various fields to reconsider political economy and other areas of human enterprise with an emphasis on the notion of common good. As a community, we collaborate to understand the perception of the common good, and shape a common vision for the governance of the Commons, re-thinking economic, political and cultural issues for the benefit of the global and local common good. As a Bridge-Builder, the ‘Common Good Forum’ promotes cross-cultural understanding and cooperation among local and global communities.
 Violaine HACKER Common Good Forum

- Read the presentation by Mr Paul Iordanow of the Creation Academies. As a Bridge-Builder, this platform represents a unique occasion to gather cultures and expertises of people promoting intergenerational and intercultural dialogue. - As a thinker, Ian Mason presents his participation to the meeting within the United Nations, promoting the notion of Land and how people live Nature in Harmony. - Eventually, read the testimony of Tom Mahon who has been working within the Silicon Valley for years. He then developed a specific vision of the relationship between technology and social issues. - More globally, note the crucial importance to take into account people and cultural issues while studying the goverance of the Commons. Indeed this is not just a question of ownership! See the News. Also you are welcome to participate to the debate organised during the Conference ‘Imagine the Common Good’ (25-28 August 2013), where we will notably discuss the concept of ‘Unity in Diversity’.

EDITORIAL By Violaine Hacker

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CONFERENCE International Conference in Paris on the Common Good By Violaine Hacker

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A BRIDGE-BUILDER Project By Mr Paul Iordanow

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A THINKER Report By Mr Ian Mason

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A PRACTITIONER Testimony By Mr Tom Mahon

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IN THE NEWS The Common Good

Common Good Forum http://www.commongood-forum.org Contact: violaine.hacker@commongood-forum.org

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CONFERENCE

International Conference ‘Imagine the Common Good’ By Violaine HACKER

International Conference ‘Imagine the Common Good’ ‘Debates on: ‘Unity in Diversity’ The Conference ‘Imagine the Common Good’ represents a unique occasion to discuss with people - from more than 20 countries around the globe -, the concept of ‘Unity in Diversity’. Indeed the notion of common good questions the unity without uniformity and diversity without fragmentation that shifts focus from unity based on a mere tolerance of physical, cultural, linguistic, social, religious, political, ideological differences towards a more complex unity based on an understanding that difference enriches human interactions. The concept is not new. It was used in non-Western cultures such as indigenous peoples in North America and Taoist societies in 400-500 B.C. In premodern Western culture, it has been implicit in the organic conceptions of the universe that have been manifest since the ancient Greek and Roman civilizations through medieval Europe and into the Romantic era. We will use this concept during the conference (see the program). 1. We will particularly discuss on Monday 26 August: how to share values in a divided world: with a Session on Economics with people, and another one on how to consider Deliberation and how to manage cultural and spiritual diversity. 2. From a global understanding of the principles of the notion of Common Good, we will discuss on Tuesday 27 August: how people can understand the notion of Unity in Diversity. This requires to empower people with strong capabilities in a shifting world, as well as promoting new kind of Education. In that capacity, people might be able to manage the Commons… imagining the Common Good.

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Also we will use a socratic process in order to draw conclusion and prepare output and action plan. Indeed we will study how the concept of the Common Good fit for helping to address the serious complex and inter-connected challenges (25 August). Firstly we will discuss on how to share values in a divided world (26 August). In that respect, we will imagine how to develop innovative solutions and best practices (27 August). In that capacity, on 28 August, we will draw conclusion and design of a Social Charter : the Declaration of Paris.


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A BRIDGE-BUILDER PROJECT The International Creation Academies

By Mr Paul IORDANOW

Mr Paul Iordanow introduces an international project: the Creation Academies. This is an excellent example of someone working as a bridge-builder. He is definitely able to combine cultural issues, business perspectives and technical points, while creating a plateform of communication between Institutes, Universitites and the corporate sector.

The Creation Academies are not only a new Cursus encouraging the creation of innovative work by scholars. It is also related to the common good. Indeed it represents a triple bridge between: - education and professional lives, - different cultures and countries, - different fields of expertise. The goal of these Academies lies in the creation of bridges between: - The universities and the professional world. - The universities from different countries and various fields. As well as different field of expertise. 1. Bridges between the Educational and Professional Worlds It becomes more and more difficult for students today to find a job or even begin their professional life after their studies. Very often they are asked by potential employers, “What is your track record?”…

which of course they do not have yet. In the meantime, it can be difficult to create a start up just on a basic idea and without any support structure or capital. Also if a student wants to go on in a university career, he or she must complete a PhD thesis. In that respect, the International Academy is a new cursus, possibly compared to a PhD, but much more oriented towards the professional ‘real life’. Instead of a thesis, which is not necessarily fruitful for hiring companies, using this cursis they can start up an innovative and promising project helped by their professors on the technical side, and encouraged and mentored by manager-experts in innovation for the creative aspects. Consequently, they may eventually have the chance to respond to a hiring company: «Not only do I have a track record now, but I can also demonstrate innovative work that your company may wish to develop further...” On top of it, these Academies not only aim to create innovative works, but help further develop the global economy.

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2. Bridges between the Universities around the Globe The global goal of the Creative Academies remains the development of innovative solutions. Creativity also comes from the cooperation between different countries, as well as different fields of expertise. In that capacity, the Creation Academies intend to be an international network representing various fields. The Head Office can then inform the specific Academies of innovations produced within other Academies, and can propose to them new possibilities of creation in their field. Consequently, the ecosystem represents a possibility for each company to enrich, and gain from, the work of others. For instance, the Creation Academies have already set up cooperation between our European Academy of Dance and Theater, with academies in Sri Lanka and Indonesia.. These two Asian countries have developed very interesting forms of theater: masks in Sri Lanka and marionettes in Indonesia. The original issue for these companies was that they remained


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traditional and were not really “trendy� enough for the audience normally attracted by theater and dance. This project was then an excellent platform for Sri Lanka and Indonesia to integrate their tradtional theaters into an innovative process as well as benefit from an international audience. The European Creation Academy, in turn, could also integrate new possibilities of creation with masks and marionettes which were not very well known in the European theater. The Global Map of these Academies includes three different parts The Creation Academies represent a platform promoting top level education, benefiting from foresight and a sustainable creative phase. 1. A Top-Level Education. To succeed, scholars have to receive a top-level education, flexible enough to be adapted to new environment and innovation. According to their levels, the students can then choose and attend their courses appropriate to their project. 2. Creation Dedicated. To the Future. Innovative works are perceived within long-term project and consequently belong to a strong trend. In that respect, opinion leaders (politicians, artists, philosophers, economists, founders of creative and successful companies...) will be invited to explain their vision of the future. Such a wide range of speakers represents an opportunity to mix and cross-fertilize a diversity of opinion, culture and vision, so that students have the chance to envision the better way to express creation. 3. The Realization of Innovative Creation. Coherent professional work requires the support of high level professors helping students, using the most advanced techniques as well as benefiting from suitable cultural or mental advices.

The Creation Academies are not only a new Cursus, encouraging the creation of innovative work by scholars. They are also related to the common good. Indeed they represent a triple bridge between education and professional lives, different cultures and countries, as well as different fields of expertise. It is our hope that with the right combination of talent, funding and support from both the business and academic communities the Creation Academies will be fully up and running by 20XX.

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A THINKER REPORT United Nations Dialogue: Harmony with Nature

By Mr Ian MASON

In April this year the School of Economic Science had the honor of joining U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Vuk Jeremić for an Interactive Dialogue on Harmony with Nature to commemorate International Mother Earth Day. New York Times journalist Andrew Revkin moderated the discussion involving invited panelists and member states on alternative economic approaches that further a more ethical relationship between humanity and the Earth.

Agenda at the United Nations Today is a “chance to reaffirm our collective responsibility to promote harmony with nature,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, urging the UN General Assembly “to confront the hard truth that our planet is under threat.” Mr. Ban also noted the growing momentum among world leaders to support sustainable development, citing in particular the efforts of Bolivia, whose Constitution specifically adopted a legal framework that protects Mother Earth. The General Assembly’s President, Vuk Jeremic, emphasized that “the irreversible torrent of physical and ecological transformations across the globe is threatening us with a future reality that is profoundly different from anything that we have experienced until now.” As a result, the General Assembly is planning for a series of events to boost the efforts towards the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and is seeking proposals for the post-2015 agenda. The Outcome of Economic Policies and practices

Ian Mason is principal of the School of Economics in Great Britain, and leads studies in law and economics. He is a barrister practising in environment, public and property law.

The School’s proposal was to start form the principle, One World, One Wealth. The test is Economics with Justice – the view that the real measure of economic success is whether the outcomes of economic policies and practices is justice for all participants. Against that test, contemporary understanding and practice of economics fails. The link with Mother Earth is to realise that all material wealth has one common source: human effort applied to land. Every single atom of material used for human production and consumption has its origins in the Earth. As we hear from the Indian epic, the Mahabharata: “Earth,

Over the last ten years he has led a team developing courses and thinking in the field of economics-with-justice emphasizing the importance of economics in understanding the relationship between the Earth and its human population and endeavoring to take a holistic and ecological view of the science of economics.

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if its resources are properly developed according to its qualities and prowess, is like an ever-yielding cow, from which the three-fold fruits of virtue, profit and pleasure may be milked. If Earth be well looked after, it becomes the father, mother, children, firmament and heaven of all creatures”. Land Yet land is usually treated in economics text books as though it is no longer important, with devastating consequences. Land, in economics, becomes an abstract concept or merely a commodity subject to the laws of supply and demand like every other commodity. But this is not correct. The supply of land cannot increase just because the human population, and therefore demand, increases. The only thing that can increase is the price of land because the supply is fixed. In his book, The Landgrabbers , Fred Pearce shows that wherever we look in the developing world land is being privatised just as it was centuries ago in

Europe and North America with little or no regard for the local economies of the real living breathing loving people being displaced by the new landlords. But land is the whole natural environment. Whoever owns the land therefore, owns the means of subsistence of everyone and everything dependent on it. The owners of land are the owners of the environment and the masters of the economy. The Law

Economics Economics with justice also proposes to introduce measuring economic success not only in terms of economic growth, but more importantly in terms of the eradication of injustice. The real aim of economics is to establish justice and equity for the welfare of humanity so as to make it possible for all human beings to flourish without harm to anything else. Ownership and Duties

This matters because human beings can destroy as well as enhance their surroundings. Living in harmony with Nature demands a mutually enhancing relationship that gives rise to a human duty of care for Mother Earth. The need in the present time is for this to be recognised so that it is enforceable in law. This could be done by recognising rights for Nature and enforcing them through laws that apply to individuals, corporations and governments alike. Hence the many calls for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Nature and the adoption of such codes in several countries.

A third proposal is to recognise that all ownership of land is a privilege that carries attendant duties. These include duties to keep land in good condition, and look after it well; to leave land in as good or better condition than we find it; and also to recompense surrounding communities for the benefit that private occupation of land confers.If we do this we may find that the ancient wisdom speaks the truth: “The one who can see all creatures in himself, himself in all creatures, knows no sorrow .” But the test of that is to act accordingly.

The Mother Earth Day (22nd April 2013) at the United Nations Headquarters in New York: to pass on to the assembled delegates some thoughts on economics with justice, rights for Nature and harmony with Nature. See the website at www.harmonywithnatureun.org, the work being undertaken, in keeping with paragraph 40 of “The Future We Want,” to develop holistic and integrated approaches and actions that will guide humanity to live in Harmony with Nature and lead to efforts to restore the health and integrity of the Earth’s ecosystems. In summary, the four panelists offered some recommendations for further consideration by Member States: 1. Reject the false assumption that infinite economic growth is possible in a finite world, and instead re-orient our economic system to serve people and planet, as recommended by ecological economists. 2. Encourage universities, teaching and research establishments to review and revise contemporary understanding of economics so that economic laws are understood and applied for the welfare of all of humanity in full recognition of the central importance of Nature to human wellbeing and in accordance with an ethical standard of justice. 3. Establish the human duty of care for Nature in practice by recognizing in enforceable laws and constitutional provisions rights of Nature to exist and thrive so as to guide our behavior in concert with those rights. 4. Support and promote, not denigrate and suppress, indigenous cultures that are already living in harmony with the Earth and learn from them. Similarly, provide support and promote the efforts of nations down to local communities who are working to reflect the rights of nature in their laws and governance systems and implement those laws for the benefit of humans and the natural world. 5. Advance now in policy-making the indicators and analysis of ecological economics, particularly economic measures of progress that better reflect humankind’s impacts on the environment than Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and that promote just actions towards other humans and the natural world. Incorporate into such efforts the results of the United Nations Statistical Commission on alternative indicators to GDP when such results become available. 7


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A PRACTITIONER TESTIMONY New from Silicon Valley: Technology as if people mattered

By Mr Tom MAHON

The digital revolution that has come out of Silicon Valley has created a serious global economic, political and cultural conundrum. In the digital age, innovation means automation. And automation means replacing human inputs with machine inputs. So at the same time that digital technology reduces opportunities for people to produce and earn a living, the same technology, in mobile devices, bombards us with marketing messages urging endless consumption. We are so immersed in his culture of cognitive dissonance we don’t see how fatal and ultimately self-defeating it is.

After watching this process for 40 years from a front row seat in Silicon Valley, I have some thoughts on how we might go forward. To begin, we should stop promoting ‘progress’ until we have some agreement on what we want to progress toward. The gap between the few who have too much, and the many with too little, has created a vacuum. And nature abhors a vacuum.

a technical accomplishment as a new Intel microprocessor. In fact, the vase and the processor are essentially the same thing – silicon – fabricated different ways. Third, recognize that just as technology is the practical application of the discoveries in the sciences, encourage the young to focus their ingenuity on making and using tools that build on the revelations of the sciences in the last century: of a universe that is elegantly interwoven, interconnected and interdependent, from the quantum scale to the cosmic.

Then where to from here? Just as we teach the young about a ‘scientific method’ – where observation leads to hypothesis then to theory and then to law - we should consider the possibility of a ‘technology method.’ And what would that look like?

A fourth feature of technology is that it’s how we leverage our limited human capabilities. From ancient times, we used tools to leverage our muscles. And with levers and pulleys and wheels we developed agriculture and built civilization.

First, teach the young to realize that tools are how we impose mind on matter. And when the mind is calm and composed the results can be magnificent, like Chartres cathedral or the original Ford Mustang.

Then abut 400 years ago we began to use tools to leverage our senses – telescopes, microscopes, radio and television. And so the scientific revolution.

But when the mind is confused or corrupted, we end up with confusing tools and corrupted outcomes: smart weapons to fight dumb wars, or big data that confuses information with understanding.

In the 20th Century, we developed tools to leverage our brains so as to manipulate nature at its most elemental level: electronic, atomic, and genetic. But along the way, something terrible happened. We began to think we could exercise these capabilities in a value-free context.

Second, make clear to students that technology literally means ‘anything of human design.’ A Baccarat crystal vase is as much

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It’s time to initiate a fourth age of technology: leveraging our spirit, our sense of values.

building, mending. And if some say there is no money in that, that may be the best reason we should do it.

We can debate God’s existence today, but we cannot deny the existence of a moral order of right and wrong. And to re-infuse a sense of right and wrong into our tool use is the most necessary educational undertaking of our time.

Let’s return to the understanding that economic activity is measured in moral terms: goods and services, not bads and meanness. There is an expression in computer science: GIGO. Garbage in; garbage out. But if we can develop a sense of composure and invest that in the tools we make and use, then we increase the chance the outcomes will be compassionate actions. CICO: Composure in; compassion out.

How do we do it? The process begins with a realization that science in the last century has revealed a stunningly new view of the universe. The major theories of modern science – big bang, evolution, quantum, relativity, and chaos – all reveal a far more elegant universe than ever anticipated.

There is no other way open to us than to begin teaching the We can no longer misuse the laws of a balanced and harmoyoung how to impose calm minds on matter, to be manifest nious natural order to develop as compassionate actions and use tools that encourage elsewhere. Just as nature and enable mastery of one Tom Mahon has written about technology for 40 years as itself, whose laws are the over the other: of man over publicist, journalist, novelist, dramatist and activist. The foundations of our tools, is nature; men over women; the ideas contained in this paper are expanded on in the e-book, now understood to be in a chosen over the outcast; the Reconnecting.Calm, available from Amazon, Barnes&Noble constant state of coming-topowerful over the weak. and Google. Since the early 1990s, he has spoken and writbe even as it is constantly ten widely on the need to reconnect technical capability with balanced and harmonious at Better instead to refocus our social responsibility. Speaking venues have included MIT, the every level, from quantum to tool use on teaching, healing, International Solid State Circuits Conference, the United Relicosmic. gions Initiative, the San Francisco Fringe Festival, assemblies sponsored by the U.S. State Department, as well as to local congregations, senior centers and middle school students. His writings have been published in The Wall Street Journal, Electronic Engineering Times, National Catholic Reporter and Business 2.0. In addition, the work has been covered in The New York Times, The International Herald-Tribune, CNN, CNET, Business Week and The San Jose Mercury, among others. He holds an MBA in International Business and has had his own public relations consultancy since 1984 representing firms in electronic and genetic engineering. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. 9


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IN THE NEWS

The notion of Common Good: People and the Governance of the Commons

1° The ‘Common Good Forum’ not only focuses on the Commons as ‘object’, but considers it takes various shapes : object, process and result. Claude ROCHET, Gouverner par le bien commun, ed. François-Xavier de Guibert, 2001; See a video on: www.commongood-forum. org (‘Les Entretiens de ‘Common Good Forum’)

As objects, the Commons embody the Common Wealth, assets inherited or created, and shared in common. As a process, the Commons embody the Common Ethos, a Culture, the ways of being and doing in common: for instance sharing or governing the assets in relationship with others. As a Result, the Commons embody the Common Good, the outcome of the process (well being, quality of life, prosperity, abundance) which is the life blood of the process and a condition for the growth of the assets. We perceive both an input to the dynamic interactions between people and their contexts, and an output thereof.

Hélène FINIDORI, see her website : http://menemania.typepad.com/helene_finidori.

2° The Commons and the Economics.

how important culture and people must be considered as well. Above all he insists on the crucial need for new indicator of wealth.

Elinor OSTROM, Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action (Political Economy of Institutions and Decisions), 1990. Her prizewinning work examined how people collaborate and organize themselves to manage common resources like forests or fisheries, even when governments are not involved. The research overturned the conventional wisdom about the need for government regulation of public resources. Traditionally, economics consider common ownership of resources results in excessive exploitation, as when fishermen overfish a common pond for instance: this is the so-called ‘tragedy of the commons’, and it suggests that common resources must be managed either through privatization or government regulation, in the form of taxes, say, or limits on use. Thus Professor Ostrom studied cases around the world in which communities successfully regulated resource use through cooperation. In economics, every successive cohort of economists is trained to put greater emphasis on the arsenal of mathematical and econometric expertise, but Pr Ostrom consider the complex living systems as “self-organized” and «polycentric», where the people closely involved help “develop rules for themselves».

The Convivialist Manifesto, by the MAUSS (Mouvement antiutilitariste dans les sciences sociales, France). See: http://www.journaldumauss.net/spip.php?article996 This Manifesto was recently written among people willing to promote anti-utilitarian perspectives in social science. The social order is one inspired by a four-pronged principle of common humanity, of common sociality, of individuation, and of mastered and creative confrontation. 1° Principle of common humanity: beyond differences of skin colour, nationality, language, culture, religion, wealth, gender, or sexual orientation, there is only one humanity, which has to be respected in each and every one of its members. 2° Principle of common sociality: human beings are social beings for whom the greatest wealth is the wealth of social relationships. 3° Individuation principle: in agreement with the two aforementioned principles, a legitimate politics is one which enables anyone to assert and develop, at best, their singular individuality, by increasing his or her power to be and behave without harming others. 4° Mastered and creative confrontation principle: because everyone is destined to express his or her singular individuality, it is natural for humans to oppose each other. It is, however, legitimate to do so only as long as it does not endanger the framework of common sociality which makes this rivalry a fertile and non-destructive one.

Jean-Marie HARRIBEY, La richesse, la valeur et l’inestimable, Fondements d’une critique socio-écologique de l’économie capitaliste, Les Liens qui libèrent, 2013. Professor Ostrom’s work rebutted fundamental economic beliefs, thus Pr Harribey considers

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Bridge-Builder #2, Imagine the Common Good!  

As a Bridge-Builder, the Common Good Forum promotes cross-cultural understanding and cooperation among local and global communities.  It...