Arne Loosveldt Fund / Philosophy of education, epistemology and ethics
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As a researcher in the field of Research and Innovation and Higher Education, it worries me that most scientists and policy makers are unaware of the complexity of current societal challenges. They are still educating young people with the ‘mechanistic’ worldview of the 19th century, assuming that we can control (or ‘improve’) one thing without (negatively) affecting others. Well, antibiotics taught us a lesson, climate change proves us wrong… Yet, few scientists question their assumptions on the nature of things, or ask how they can learn to lembrace its complexity – the very complexity that allowed human life to emerge !
I organise my life as much as possible by means of ‘regenerative’ economic initiatives, i.e. that do not aim to ‘make money’ by pushing me to ‘consume more’, but that contribute to real wellbeing for all (people and other species) while restoring the biosphere. Examples: responsible banking, car sharing, biking and public transport, avoiding air travel, vegetarian food, community supported agriculture, repairing stuff, cooperative no-waste shop, etc. A ‘slow’ life style that took some time to get used to, but now is really fulfilling and fun !
And I spread the word on a complexity based, common good oriented and cocreative way to do research to tackle current challenges – via lectures, workshops, debates, etc.
What are obstacles?
- Planes are often cheaper than trains when traveling in Europe
- Much energy is wasted, e.g. with stand-by lights built into almost everything. So I go around the house unplugging appliances every night :-/
- Traffic infrastructure is too car-friendly
- House sharing is ‘punished’ financially
In general: products (or services) offered by ‘extractive’ (private profit oriented) businesses are often cheaper and more easily available than those of ‘regenerative’ (societal benefit oriented) enterprises. They are treated the same by politics, even if the first cause societal and ecological damage, while the regenerative ones (strive to) avoid or restore that damage. This makes no sense!
We should stop talking about ‘the economy’ as if it’s a neutral, general term. From now on ‘extractive’ and ‘regenerative’ economics should be distinguished (by researches, politics, media, citizens, etc) as different realities with hugely different societal costs and benefits. Regenerative economics should be fostered (by politics, banks, education, research, media etc) as the new normal, while extractive economics should be revealed for what they are: dinosaurs bound to disappear.