Award of the Erich-Fromm-Prize 2021 to Prof. Dr. Maja Göpel

on Monday, June 21, 2021 at 6 p.m. at the Hospitalhof Education Center in Stuttgart

> Recording on our YouTube channel:

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The prize goes to what she describes as an “unwavering humanist who believes in the power of knowledge and conscience” (M. Göpel 2020, p. 21). The 44-year-old transformation researcher and political economist Maja Göpel was previously Secretary General of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU) and is now Scientific Director of The New Institute, a think tank founded in Hamburg in 2020. She is also a co-founder of the Scientists for Future initiative, which aims to give weight to the concerns of the Fridays for Future movement in the field of science. Maja Göpel holds an honorary professorship at the Leuphana University of Lüneburg and is the mother of two daughters.

In her book Rethinking our world, Maja Göpel argues that we should think about alternatives because “business as usual” would lead to catastrophic conditions. It thus follows in the tradition of Erich Fromm’s booksWege aus einer kranken Gesellschaft (1955), Revolution der Hoffnung (1968) and Haben oder Sein (1976), which were also intended as contributions and suggestions for rethinking. Erich Fromm was deeply impressed by the study The Limits to Growth (1972) and was one of the early warnings about the psychological, social and ecological consequences of our economic system. “You carry on like this because you don’t have the courage or the initiative to see: Where is there something new?” said Erich Fromm in a television interview in 1977. So we have known for almost 50 years that we cannot continue to do business like this. However, most of them have settled into an illusory reality that has allowed them to carry on as before.

Maja Göpel now asks again: Can’t a better future still be shaped? With her personally written, unagitated and friendly prose, but also in her interviews and in her conversations as an advisor, she reaches a great many people, not just many scientific specialists. Its goal is sustainable, cooperative economic activity that takes into account its ecological and social consequences. Maja Göpel is one of those who encourage us and bring us closer to the realities in order to “bridge the gap between the possible and the necessary”(Haben oder Sein, 1976a, p.168). Congratulations!

In the hope that the restrictions due to the pandemic will come to an end in spring 2021, we have scheduled the award ceremony at the Hospitalhof in Stuttgart for Monday, June 21, 2021, 6 pm. Everyone who still believes in alternatives is cordially invited to take part in the award ceremony.

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