Ecosocial Market Economy
"Prosperity for all" is the credo of the social market economy. "A better quality
of life for all – today and tomorrow" is the objective of the approach called
"ecosocial market economy". Ecosocial economic policy is therefore sustainable
and responsible towards current and future generations. It is based on the
belief that all people worldwide, now and in the future, have the right to a
good life in a healthy environment. The ecosocial market economy aims at an
enduring society in the respective cultural context, which is sustainable on
three levels: environmental, social, and economical. Thus it is also in
accordance with article 3 (3) of the Treaty of Lisbon (which states the
“The Union shall establish an internal market. It shall work for the sustainable
development of Europe based on balanced economic growth and price stability,
a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and
social progress, and a high level of protection and improvement of the quality
of the environment.
It shall promote scientific and technological advance.
It shall combat social exclusion and discrimination, and shall promote social
justice and protection,equality between women and men, solidarity between
generations and protection of the rights of the child.
It shall promote economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among
It shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that
Europe's cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced.“)
The market is capable of achieving a lot, but not everything. It can and should
contribute to improving the economy and to promoting innovative
entrepreneurship. However, the market needs clear rules and principles of
liability – also at a global level. That this is not the case today, show us the
latest dramatic developments in the financial and economic world. The
imperatives of the ecosocial market economy are sustainability, justice and
personal freedom, freedom also meaning responsibility. As an economic policy
approach, ecosocial market economy is supported by the mechanisms and
instruments of price transparency and the "polluter pays" principle. Ecosocial
market economy is economy with responsibility.
In 1989, Josef Riegler demanded that the social market economy should be
complemented by the component "environmental responsibility". In doing this,
he is one of the first in Europe to have taken steps towards setting trends in an
ecosocial era. The end of November 2009 saw the 20th anniversary of the
formulation of the idea of the ecosocial market economy. Although the world
has changed considerably since 1989, the concerns and aspirations of the
ecosocial market economy are now more relevant and important than ever:
sustainability can only be ensured through a balance between ecological
protection, social responsibility and economic prosperity.
The future has cast its shadow. We currently find ourselves in a multiple-crisis.
The dramatic climate change, the plundering of natural resources, diminishing
biodiversity, desertification and much more is all leading on a one-way route
towards an ecological collapse. At the same time, social problems such as
poverty and the rift between rich and poor are further increasing – and the
struggle for raw materials is threatening to get tighter. We still feel the effects
of the financial and economic crisis, which was triggered by an excess of
deregulation and liberalisation. What we now need is an ecosocial change,
which brings together environmental, social and economic needs, and the
needs of the world population. Hereby, the ecosocial market economy defines
the necessary conditions in which the economy can operate in a sustainable
Quality of life und qualitative growth as a target
Our current economic and social systems depend on quantitative economic
growth. Taken the declining economic growth rates in industrialised countries
and increasing scarcity of natural resources, the question arises how long-term
prosperity in Europe and the rest of the world can be secured. In light of this,
the ecosocial market economy approach does not push simply the "still more",
but the "better" (the quality of life) to the heart of the economic policy. The
objective "a better quality of life for all – today and tomorrow" strives for
better living conditions (including financial security, health, social cohesion,
education, business and labour, as well as the natural environment) and
subjective well being for every person. We follow the definition of the World
Health Organization (WHO), which understands the term ‘quality of life’ as the
subjective perception of a person of his/her own position in life in relation to
the culture and the value systems in which he/she lives and in view of his/her
goals, expectations, standards and concerns .
In 2008, the Ecosocial Forum initiated a process for the further development of
the model of the ecosocial market economy. The main current topics of the
ecosocial market economy were discussed with various experts, and the
ecosocial programme was further developed in the light of current economic,
financial, social and environmental challenges in Austria, Europe and the world.
Shortly you will find here the english version of the new programme paper of
the ecosocial market economy.