The corona pandemic is showing us the conflicts of our times from a different perspective. The crisis makes hidden issues visible, some of them even become more urgent in the context of the crisis. At the same time the pandemic offers us a window of opportunity for change. The crisis can help us to refocus on the really important issues. In our webtalk with Christian Krell, professor at the Federal University of Applied Administrative Sciences and further prominent guests from academia and politics the Friedrich Ebert Foundation asks on a biweekly basis how our democracy, our society and our economic system can be restructured in a fairer way after the crisis.
The webtalks will be shown via this webpage on their respective dates. Starting time is always on Wednesdays at 6.30 pm. Also, on this webpage: A chat offering the chance to ask questions and discuss while listening to the webtalk.
On Mai 27th, 2020 Christian Krell welcomed the French economist Thomas Piketty to discuss with him whether the current crisis will further increase inequality in the world. Past crises sometimes acted as a kind of turning point with people questioning contemporary ideologies leading to massive changes. Thomas Piketty is convinced that it is the major task for progressive forces to start changing the world, to move towards more democracy, solidarity, equality and public spirit. He describes how this could work out with his proposal of an “inheritance for all”. See more in the video recording.
On June10th, 2020 Christian Krell welcomed Gesine Schwan, the chairwoman of the basic values commission of the SPD, to talk about solidarity and cohesion in the current pandemic. During the crisis the daily life of almost all people changed fundamentally. In the understanding of Social Democracy solidarity always means equal rights and does not stop at national borders. Now, it is the task of progressive actors to start building necessary bridges between different parts of societies. For a future after the pandemic Gesine Schwan hopes that societies turn away from neoliberalism and start making decisions in the interest of all. See more in the (German) video recording.
On June 24th, 2020 Christian Krell spoke to the British publicist and activist Paul Mason about the end of capitalism and the role of the corona pandemic. Crises can trigger changes, for example, the plague in the 14th century contributed to the end feudalism. For Paul Mason, however, capitalism was already considerably weakened before the pandemic, the rapid technological development had reduced profit margins and at the same time destroyed jobs. The realization that people in a country depend on each other is essential for a post-capitalist system. Another topic of the talk was the current political situation in Great Britain and opportunities for the future against the background of the Brexit. See more in the video recording.
On July 8th, 2020 Christian Krell spoke with the philosopher and social scientist Lisa Herzog about the democratization of work under the influence of the corona pandemic. For Lisa Herzog, work is a central part of society, a place where people meet. The crisis has shown that we are all interdependent. She is therefore confident that we are moving away from hyper-individualism towards more togetherness. Lisa Herzog hopes that in ten years' time sociality will also be anchored in the world of work and that the crisis will have been the reason for more democracy in the world of work. Lisa Herzog also spoke about the big issues that are changing the world of work and the right to work. See more in the (German) video recording.
On August 5th, 2020, Alexander Behrens spoke with the feminist and journalist Teresa Bücker about whether women are being disadvantaged in the current crisis and whether the pandemic has set us back in terms of equality. For Teresa Bücker, numerous women are in a disadvantaged situation due to the crisis: Many had to reduce their working hours, some have given up their jobs entirely to make up for the lack of childcare due to the daycare and school closings. The pandemic measures act like a burning glass for existing gender-related inequalities. At the same time, the pandemic could also represent an opportunity for change. From Bücker's point of view, one thing is clear: politics must act more decisively when it comes to equality. See more in the (German) video recording.
On August 12, 2020 Christian Krell spoke with the cultural sociologist Andreas Reckwitz about a possible reinvention of state and society through the corona pandemic. For Andreas Reckwitz, the pandemic could lead to a renaissance of the state, because the crisis has increased awareness of the need for certain forms of state regulation. For the time after the pandemic, he sees opportunities in a kind of “embedded liberalism”; against the background of the crisis, a political paradigm shift is quite possible. Andreas Reckwitz also spoke about how late modern society has developed towards more individuality, what new social classes are emerging and the various challenges they are currently facing. See more in the (German) video recording.
On September 2, 2020 Christian Krell spoke with the German sociologist Heinz Bude about solidarity in times of Corona. Does the crisis further the potential for more solidarity in the society and does the common concern work towards more solidarity? Heinz Bude believes that we can only get through this crisis if every single person supports the idea that they are not only responsible for themselves, but also for everyone else - and that from an intrinsic motivation. But he also says that we cannot rely on civil society voluntarism alone when it really matters. There must be an authority that speaks for everyone: the protective state. Not that you throw yourself into the arms of the state, but that you accept the necessity of the state. Through this solidarity already means a solidarity that applies to an entire country. See more in the (German) video recording.
On September 9, 2020, Alexander Behrens spoke with Maja Göpel, Secretary General of the German Advisory Council on Global Change. The political economist, transformation researcher and expert in sustainability science published her book "Rethinking our world: An invitation" in 2020. Will climate change eventually tear our western political model of liberal democracy into the abyss? Does the corona pandemic bring another setback in climate protection or is climate protection perhaps the most effective form of pandemic prevention in the long term? For Maja Göpel, climate change must always be dealt with together with freedom, democracy, poverty and migration. The social must be reconciled with the ecological in order to be able to continue to live in peace on our planet. See more in the (German) video recording.
On September 16, 2020, Lars Klingbeil, SPD general secretary, and Christina Kampmann, SPD member of the state parliament in Northrhine-Westphalia and board member of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, discussed with the political consultant and “Spiegel” bestselling author Erik Flügge his current book “Egoism. How we escape the compulsion to harm others” („Egoismus. Wie wir dem Zwang entkommen, anderen zu schaden“). For Erik Flügge egoism is innate in all human beings and cannot be broken. Rather, it is always about transforming individual, selfish behavior into an advantage for the community. Social cohesion must be strengthened and conflicts must be resolved collectively. Flügge, Klingbeil and Kampmann agree that social democratic politics should above all lead to more justice in education, health, living and work. See more in the (German) video recording.
On September 30, 2020, Christian Krell spoke with the US economist and Nobel Prize Winner Joseph E. Stiglitz about the economic development during and after the corona pandemic. According to Stiglitz, we need more, not less, global cooperation so that the economy in every country can recover. And: without cooperating also with China, the global economy will not be able to recover at all. Only well-functioning democratic markets could ensure that economic development benefits everyone. Stiglitz also emphasized the imperative to find solutions to the climate crisis. "If we do not solve the climate change problem, we will not be able to do anything else.!" See more in the video recording.
Christian Krell is Professor of Constitutional Law and Politics at the Federal University for Public Administration and Honorary Professor at the University of Bonn. Before that, he headed the FES offices for the Nordic countries, based in Stockholm.
He is a member of the SPD's Fundamental Values Commission and his publications deal with fundamental rights, fundamental questions and the history of social democracy. Worth reading inter alia.: Pioneers of Social Democracy - 49 portraits.