The research association’s presentation of results on November 13th, 2009

On November 19th, the research association socioeconomic reporting (soeb.de) presented the findings of its second report at the Humboldt-University in Berlin and put them forward for discussion. Participants from science, data production and public discussed the results presented concerning the macro economic preconditions of participation, the altered modes of participation and the political options for action under the conditions of demographic change.

In her introduction Ms. Dr. Willms-Herget, head of the Department of Humanities, Social and Cultural Sciences in the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), declared that she was expecting the scheduled workshop talks for a third Report to transmit impulses to a framework programme “Research for Social Innovations’ currently being prepared by the BMBF. She invited the community of social scientists to participate in this phase of debate.

 

Participation in transformation – soeb 2 results

Research Association Socioeconomic Reporting combines analysing the transformation of the German model of capitalism with the question how this process affects the chances and forms of participation by individuals and households. Participation materialises as participation in gainful employment, close social relations, civil, political and social rights and not least as participation in education and culture. By taking a closer look at the chances for participation and their implantation the concept of participation serves soeb, firstly, as an individual welfare measure appropriate to society’s degree of individualisation. By observing collective patterns of participation the term, secondly, turns into a useful tool for a social structure analysis.

 

Panel 1: What happens after ‘Rhenish Capitalism’?

The old Fordist model of capitalism and its German version (‘Rhenish capitalism’) used the increase in the productivity of labour as one of their central development resources. By linking this increase with the increase in wages it for the first time enabled wide strata of the population to participate in consumption well beyond the level of mere reproduction and led to a general improvement of living conditions. This is how in all developed industrial societies a type of ‘participatory capitalism’ (each specimen with its national characteristics) emerged.

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Panel 2: Does ‘social’ mean creating jobs? Changing patterns of participation and new insecurities

After the transformation social participation is still measured by labour force participation. However, the changes taking place are not sufficiently covered by the observation of systemic unemployment on the rise or the increase in atypical employment. Only a longitudinal section examination shows the decreasing social importance of the Fordist type of normal employment (secure livelihood, permanent full-time employment).

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Panel 3: Population policy or social policy? Demographic trend reversal and leeway for economic and social innovations

In political discourse the demographic development – forecasts speak of a decline in population and in the labour force potential as well – is often seen as an absolute limitation of socioeconomic development opportunities. However, demographic developments do not immediately affect the labour market but rather in a mediated fashion through social structures and the conduct of companies, households, states and associations; and these mediatory institutions can be shaped through policy.

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Open questions

From the discussions of the three panels one can derive topics which should be investigated in the further course of Socioeconomic Reporting.

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Documents (German)
Tagungsbericht PDF
Begrüßung PDF
Lectures (German)
Rainer Land: Der Teilhabekapitalismus und sein Ende (Panel 1) PDF
Sabine Fromm: Sozial ist, was Arbeit schafft? (Panel 2) PDF
Peter Bartelheimer: Eine demografische Lücke am Arbeitsmarkt? (Panel 3) PDF