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November 21, 2005

"Solidarity economics & design"

This is the title of a lecture I'm giving at the Royal Society of Arts in London on 12 December. It seems a good oppportunity to reflect on the lessons we learned at Doors 8 earlier this year in Delhi. I plan to talk about those lessons in the framework of solidarity economics.The word 'development' implies that we advanced people in the North have the right or even obligation to help backward people in the South to 'catch up' with our own advanced condition. No, it doesn't make sense. The concept of development is further devalued by the impoverished but destructive mindset of economists: The North's pursestrings are clutched by people who define development narrowly in terms of growth, jobs and productivity - and ignore broader measures of sustainability and well-being. If we are to exchange value with other cultures - rather than just take it, or act like cultural tourists - what do we have to offer? One idea proposed by Jogi Panghaal is that fresh eyes can reveal hidden value - and thus mobilise otherwise neglected or hidden local resources. Visiting designers can act like mirrors, reflecting things about a situation that local people do not notice or value. The negative side of this is the gruesome prospect, anticipated by Yves Doz at Insead, of global companies "harvesting lifestyles". Do come along if you're in London.

Posted by John Thackara at November 21, 2005 12:05 PM


If a summary of your talk, or even better, a video posting thereof, is going online, then I for one would like to see it.

Posted by: Thomas Tichar at December 6, 2005 11:10 AM

I was at the lecture at the RSA yesterday evening and found it very interesting (thank you). It was mentioned that the lecture was to be webcast. Can you tell me where I could find a recording? I'd like to circulate the link to a couple of friends.
Many thanks.

Posted by: rob ollerenshaw at December 13, 2005 06:11 PM

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