1963-2018 - 55 years of Research for Social Change

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Alternative Economies for Transformation

🔵 See the programme prospectus

Questioning of conventional wisdom and mainstream approaches has been a hallmark of the Institute’s research for nearly six decades, driven by the imperative of constructing better alternatives. The 2030 Agenda embodies a hopeful consensus around the vision of a sustainable future, but its promise will not be achieved with business as usual. In this context there is a vital need for critical research that can take on politically sensitive topics, elevate perspectives that challenge the status quo, and propose alternatives that shape and drive politics of transformation. The Alternative Economies for Transformation Programme explores alternative economic models that are viable, egalitarian and ecologically sound, and identifies innovative ways to measure how sustainable they are, in terms of environmental, social and governance performance. It considers their underlying norms and values, how they are organized, their linkages with collective action and progressive politics, and their place in reducing inequalities and building towards a new eco-social compact.

The programme’s work seeks to understand, analyse and engage with processes of policy change around the following types of questions.
  • What makes an “alternative economy”? How do alternative economies counter the drivers of business as usual or a status quo which reinforces unsustainable growth patterns, inequality and social exclusion, and environmental degradation?
  • What are the politics, governance arrangements, ethics and forms of collective action that foster alternative economies, and what are the dynamics at play?
  • How do alternative economies empower the vulnerable, disadvantaged and marginalized both economically and politically?
  • How can business and enterprise performance associated with inclusion, sustainability and empowerment be measured and assessed?
  • How can viable alternative economies be scaled up and mainstreamed?

Photo: Geoff Greenwood (public domain via Unsplash)