The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung launched a major project on social justice and the challenges for the German and international social democracy!
More information about the Project Good Society – Social Democracy # 2017 plus you can find here: ⇒read more
In a Nutshell:
What characterises a good society? To our mind it is social justice, ecological sustainability, an innovative and successful economy and a democracy which citizens are actively involved in. This society thrives on the basic values of freedom, justice and solidarity.
Old hat? We don’t think so. Because we need new ideas and concepts so that the good society does not merely become a utopia. It was with this in mind that the foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is developing specific recommendations for the political sphere in the coming years. At the heart of these ideas and concepts are:
- The debate over fundamental values: freedom, justice and solidarity
- Democracy and democratic participation
- New growth and a proactive economic and financial policy
- Decent work and social progress
A good society does not come about by itself. It has to be continuously crafted by all of us. The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is leveraging its global network for this project in order to link up German, European and international perspectives. The Foundation will be devoting its attention to this topic on a continuous basis in numerous publications and events over the years 2015 to 2017 in order to make the good society ship-shape for the future.
- THE DEBATE OVER FUNDAMENTAL VALUES
Freedom, justice and solidarity: these are the values that have served as a beacon for Social Democratic policy for more than 150 years. They have guided political action down to the present. But what is free or just? What is solidarity? Today these questions require different answers than they used to. Because values change.
It is for this reason that we are discussing exactly what we mean by these terms and how we specifically need to act in order to attain our paramount objective: the good society. We want to show how viable solutions can be developed on the basis of these values to tackle the major issues of the future and why these values provide the foundations for a modern economic policy. This is because without freedom, justice and solidarity equal participation in society for everyone will be unattainable.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is inviting people to discuss these fundamental values in various forums. Across political party lines we are posing the question as to what a viable social contract should look like in the digital age and how ecological and democratic aspects can form the foundations for the economy and society of tomorrow while being assigned a weight that is on par with economic exigencies in national and international dialogue forums.
2. STRENGTHENING DEMOCRACY AND DEMOCRATIC PARTICIPATION
A good society needs democratic participation. We want all citizens to actively help shape the development of society. To this end we have to find ways to address, inform and motivate each and every individual – and this before they reach the voting age of 18. The fact that people from all over the world immigrate into Germany and live here poses additional challenges. On top of it all, social contexts are shifting on a massive scale. Lifestyles and ways of thinking are as numerous as they are varied and multifarious.
In a free and pluralist society the presence of many actors is actually a sign of strength and not weakness. In a Social Democracy they have to be protected against discrimination and marginalisation, however.
That is why the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung has identified the following focal points in this field of work:
- the struggle against right-wing extremism and right-wing populism in Germany and Europe
- fostering democratic participation by the younger generation
- promotion of an understanding of migration and integration as a cross-cutting task that affects almost all areas of politics and policy
- collaboration in a successful intercultural and interreligious coexistence in European societies that are destinations for immigrants.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung is at the same time planning to work together with actors from Germany and abroad in order to profit from international experience and develop different options for action. This is intended to stimulate and help move forward the German debate over how to strengthen democracy and participation.
3. NEW GROWTH: A PROACTIVE ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL POLICY
A good society can only thrive and prosper if economic conditions allow this. Because growing inequality has been shown to throttle sustainable growth, we would organise conferences, workshops and studies trips in cooperation with FES offices abroad to combat inequalities not only in Germany, but around the world while at the same time encouraging investment. A proactive financial and fiscal policy has to create equal opportunity, compensate for the negative effects of the market economy and ensure adequate and sufficient funding of government activities. Our aim, however, is not only to devise a modern social policy, but rather also develop an ecological policy that is in tune with the times: the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung would like to contribute to the development of a coordinated energy and climate-policy tool while formulating recommendations for action that take into account the growing needs of a surging world population and constraints on planetary resources. At the same time, modern Social Democratic economic policy needs to serve as a seedbed for new ideas, creativity and a brand of entrepreneurialism that is willing to take risk, support the digital transformation of business enterprises and shape the development of new concepts such as “share economy” and “co-working” along the lines of Social Democracy. Given the fact that the social and economic divide between regions in the North, South, East and West of the country is widening and will be further exacerbated by the demographic change, we want to formulate recommendations for policies that by the same token bring about equal living conditions. But we are not only seeking to achieve this in Germany. The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung views economic and financial policy based on equality to be a global task: this includes, for example, analysing the impact of an intensifying international division of labour, combating growing inequality in developing countries and supporting the effort to put newly developing countries on a solid ecological footing.
4. DECENT WORK AND SOCIAL PROGRESS
We are convinced that the Good Society needs to accommodate social interests and establish a world of work that is based on solidarity.
We need to discuss how we can calibrate our social security systems with developments that are already in the pipeline and how a modern family and educational policy can do justice to the large number of lifestyle models in our society. This requires a debate over a “decent world of work” in which people can develop individually, help shape democracy and receive a just reward for their work.
It is to this end that the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung will be working for example on the following specific issues with publications, contributions to the debate and event series: what new social risks exist and how can we safeguard people against them? How can we achieve an open, effective and inclusive educational system everywhere? What should an urban district policy that is viable in the future look like? What tools are needed for a just labour market policy that is in tune with the times? How can digitalization be used to promote a humane world of work?
We shall at the same time be adopting a variety of perspectives in this process. We will be involving regional and international perspectives on national policy together with our country and foreign offices.