Schumacher

Ireland

Summer

School

 

2012

 

 

 

Day 1: Monday

 

Arrival, lunch, opening circle and orientation tour followed by afternoon session focussed on ensuring the design of the week meets the needs and expectations of participants. The evening session introduces some of the key issues behind our exploration of the transition to a sustainable economy in Ireland: including the roots of the economic crisis and how conventional economics failed both to anticipate it and to provide coherent solutions, and why 30 years of economic growth has failed to improve well-being in many developed countries. Led by Jonathan Dawson.

 

Day 2: Tuesday

 

Robin Murray introduces the idea that we are witnessing the emergence of a new kind of economy that can be seen in many fields: the environment, care, education, welfare, food and energy. This is a 'social economy' that is very different from economies based on production and consumption of commodities.

 

Robin writes, 'This economy can be found in parts of the public sector, the non-profit world as well as commercial markets, though it thrives most in the spaces where the sectors overlap. It is already helping to address some of the most intractable problems facing modern societies, including adaptation to climate change ageing, inequality, and spreading learning'.

 

There will be an optional field visit to a local social enterprise in the afternoon.

 

In the evening Hazel Henderson joins us by inter-active video link from Florida for a discussion on how global finance can be transformed so that it serves rather than exploits people and how local and community finance can provide an equitable alternative.

 

Day 3: Wednesday

 

Robin Murray continues his exploration of the social economy, arguing that the current crisis provides an opportunity for social innovation to take its place on a par with private innovation at the centre of the economic stage. He addresses the practical issues of how to design, develop and grow social innovation including his recent work, 'Co-operation in the Age of Google', on the future of co-operatives in a new economy characterised by decentralised, distributed systems and small scale units of production.

 

An optional field visit in the afternoon will illustrate the morning session.

 

In the evening Peadar Kirby and Robin Murray will spark an evening of debate on some of the thornier issues being explored during the week along with some invited guests. All this will be helped along by a glass of wine and some entertainment.

 

Day 4: Thursday

 

Peadar Kirby examines the shortcomings of the economic development models in both parts of Ireland arguing on the one hand that little has changed amongst the ruling elites as they try to get back to 'normal' while on the other hand seeing the crisis as an opportunity for ordinary people and civil society to assert themselves in service of a more sustainable future. He describes a new economic paradigm that replaces values of individualism and income maximisation with those of social solidarity and sustainability.

 

In the afternoon Peadar will lead a field visit to illustrate his vision of the future of the the island economy.

 

Hazel Henderson presents the second part of her discussion on reforming global finance, focussing on the potential of local economies, local currencies and local investment to transform our relationship with money to one that underpins a sustainable future.

 

Day 5: Friday

 

On the final morning Jonathan Dawson leads a session which will draw on the group's learning during the week to chart a way forward collectively and individually. Jonathan will not be trying to confirm pre-planned 'learning outcomes' but rather looking for 'emergent' properties of the week's interaction between participants and teachers. In this unknown, unanticipated and unplanned quality of 'emergence' lies the true value of the experience of learning together.

 

Lunch and depart.

 

The above is a provisional outline of the course and is subject to change.