Schumacher Summer School: Rethinking Ireland’s economic future?

This morning I dropped in to see John Woods, who’s organising Schumacher Ireland’s first ever Summer School under the title “From crisis to resilience: rethinking Ireland’s economic future”… It’s the first time such an gathering has taken place in Ireland, though Schumacher College in Devon has been running such courses for the last twenty years…

In three short (and somewhat truncated) interviews I asked John firstly what it was all about that what issues he hoped the summer school could achieve by taking Schumacher’s holistic or ‘systems approach’…

In the second part he outlines who the teachers are and the fully participation approach…

The key word John uses for the Schumacher process is ’emergence’. In the context of the social media revolution it’s a word that’s commonly used to not dissimilar to the way social media has emerged and is indeed is kept almost in a constant flux of watching and anticipating new needs. It’s generally held to mean that whilst you set off with a clear intent, you also suspend judgement as to where the journey will take you.

In the case of the Summer School, the intent is clear enough:

Explore answers to questions including:

Ø What are the roots of the economic crisis and why did conventional economics both fail to anticipate it and to provide coherent solutions?
Ø Why has 30 years of economic growth failed to improve well-being in many developed countries?
Ø What are the weaknesses of the development models in both jurisdictions?
Ø How can we develop resilience to external economic, financial and energy shocks?
Ø Can global finance be transformed so that it serves rather than exploits people and can local and community finance provide an equitable alternative?
Ø Will social innovation be the motor of the new economy?
Ø What would a new economic paradigm look like for Ireland?
Ø How can we support emerging leaders for these uncertain times?

There are four members of the teaching team: Robin Murray, from London; Hazel Henderson who will conduct a number of sessions live from California; Peadar Kirby from the University of Limerick; and Jonathan Dawson who is Head of Economics at Schumacher College, and originally from Armagh.

In the final interview John talks about why he believes it matters…

You can sign up directly on the website, or contact John Woods directly either through the Office: +44(0)28 9042 6513 or on his Mobile: +44(0)7712 843 213 john@ballykeel.plus.com.

There are a limited number of bursaries being made available through Queens and the NICVA based Centre for Economic Empowerment

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty