In Berlin, a variety of initiatives show how the economy can be different: with more solidarity, more democracy, more ecological and better for all. We discuss why this is not easy, but can be promising.
Back in the 1970s, so-called "alternative enterprises" emerged in Berlin. As eco-pioneers, they distributed collectively produced organic food in the capital. Today, actors in alternative economies are not only developing green or fair products, but are taking a more fundamental approach: They reinvent companies, replace markets with other forms of supply or revolutionize economic institutions such as money. In Berlin, for example, companies are emerging that develop new, more democratic forms of organization; that connect producers and consumers directly and in solidarity; or that want to build an alternative monetary system from below. Are the modern social enterprises, cooperatives and collectives that are currently emerging in Berlin the harbingers of a new economic culture? What do they do differently and to what end? Berlin seems to be a breeding ground and gathering place for new approaches to alternative economic activity. Why is that? And how can Berlin use this potential and become an international beacon for alternative business?
In the sixth edition of Wandelwecker, our morning impulse for a social and ecological metropolis, we discuss these questions with two experts:
- Ela Kagel is the founder of SUPERMARKT, a platform for digital culture and collaborative economies in Berlin-Kreuzberg. She is also involved in setting up various alternative economy networks and initiatives such as Platform Cooperatives Germany and Circles. As a founder, digital strategist, freelance producer and facilitator, she is involved in the field of digital collaborative economies and social innovation. As a practice partner, she supports the project "Alternative Economies in and for Berlin" of the research network Ecornet Berlin.
- Sabrina Schmidt is an organizations researcher and research associate in the research field of "Ecological Product Policy" at the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW). Her work focuses on sustainable corporate structures and processes, diffusion of sustainable innovations, sustainable business models and gender justice of alternative economic activity. She is part of the project "Alternative Economies in and for Berlin" of the research network Ecornet Berlin.