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Online Conference & Churburg Economic Talks 2.0

Rethinking democracy and economy

Digitalization, democracy and growth — local and international speakers will explain how these three keywords are related at the two-day online conference of the Center for Advanced Studies of Eurac Research on October 29 and 30.

Program Speakers Call for Papers Workshop

In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the necessity for big data, artificial intelligence and the internet to play an increasingly important role, in an ever more interconnected world, is more obvious than ever. Many aspects of computing have an impact on the future of work, as well as on life and economy. Digitalisation has not only simplified certain things but also, even made them possible in the first place;the worldwide exchange of material and immaterial goods, the creation of networks between people all over the world as well as paving the way for the emergence of new economic and social systems.

However, whether this progress has made the world fairer, and more sustainable remains a questionable issue. Nevertheless, digitalisation also provides an incentive to fundamentally rethink democracy and the neoliberal, capitalist economic system.


  • International Conference

Democracy Reloaded: Where will digitalisation take us?

Digitalisation is changing both democracy and political decision-making processes. On the one hand, offering the opportunity to create a greater scope for the design of society and its democratic institutions as well as creating the possibility of involving citizens more actively in politics. In order to achieve this, governments would have, among other things, to foster the implementation of digitalisation in administration, legislation and jurisdiction. On the other hand, new questions arise in this context: will this result in the end of democracy as we know it and mark the beginning of a “digital democracy”? If so, who and where will the pioneers of the digital democracy that could show us new, innovative ways that transcend both fear and trivialisation be?

The first part of the conference explored the importance of digitalization in a changing society and discussed its implications on democratic structures and the future of democracy.


  • Churburg Economic Talks 2.0

Economy and society in the digital age - an opportunity for local economies?

In order to make economy sustainable and to alleviate social and political grievances, a fundamental system change is necessary. In search of alternative and, above all, social and ecological forms of communal living and economy, terms like sharing or subscription economy are frequently cited. The bottom line is that, an individual should no longer privately possess certain things, but instead borrow and share them. As these practices would save resources, they present a glimmer of hope for a more sustainable development. The market logic says: As sharing and subscription economy creates new markets, new profit opportunities will arise for those well equipped to seize them. Consequently, while there is an enormous potential for big corporations like Uber and Airbnb, small companies would have to expect drastic competitive disadvantages due to their weak responsiveness. In order to be able to counteract this potential divergence, clear rules are needed.

How can politics shape realms such as work and social welfare, so as to further innovative developments related to the topic of sharing and subscription economies? What influence does a sharing economy have on local economic cycles? How can we make sure digitalisation, instead of serving the pursuit of economic gain, will indeed contribute to a socio-ecological transformation of economy and society? The Churburg Economic Talks 2.0 provided the frame within which these questions were raised and discussed.

Program Demokratie und Wirtschaft neu denken | Churburger Wirtschaftsgespräche.pdf


Keynote speakers

Dirk Helbing is Professor of Computational Social Science at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences and an associate of the Department of Computer Science at ETH Zurich. His current studies deal with the risks of global networks and the digital society. He is head of the doctoral programme "Engineering Social Technologies for a Responsible Digital Future" at the Delft University of Technology. Helbing is an elected member of the German Academy of Sciences "Leopoldina" and the World Academy of Art & Science. He worked for the World Economic Forum in the framework of the Global Agenda Council for Complex Systems. He is part of the external faculty of the Complexity Science Hub in Vienna and is a member of various state and academic scientific committees dealing with the digital transformation of our society.

Stefanie Kisgen
is Executive Director and shareholder of the School of International Business and Entrepreneurship GmbH (SIBE) at Steinbeis University, founder and managing Director of SIBE Scientific Projects GmbH and Junior Professor of Leadership at Steinbeis University. She is also a member of the board of the regional association of the Baden-Württemberg industry. Her publications focus on Chinese and international law, foreign trade, international management and leadership.
Fabrizio Gilardi is Professor of Policy Analysis at the Institute for Political Science at the University of Zurich. He is co-founder and co-director of the Digital Democracy Lab, which studies the policy implications of digital technology using computer-based social science methods. It provides a research infrastructure that enables efficient, measurable and replicable data collection and analysis, and focuses in the process on political communication and public opinion, e-government and public administration, AI, governance, civic tech and political participation, regulation of technology platforms, and state repression and surveillance. Web: http://fabriziogilardi.org | Twitter: @fgilardi
Yvonne Hofstetter, 1966, jurist and essayist, began her career in information technology in 1999 as a product manager for systems of the distributed artificial intelligence (AI). In 2009 she founded TERAMARK Technologies GmbH, a company for the analysis of large amounts of data with AI and other tools. In 2020, she co-founded 21strategies, a portfolio company of Commerzbank AG, and has served as its CEO since then. Since 2014, Hofstetter has been a popular keynote speaker about digitisation and society. In 2019 she published her latest book "The Invisible War" with the publishing house Droemer Knaur. In 2018, Hofstetter was awarded the 53rd Theodor Heuss Prize for her commitment to democratic politics.
Ivo Muser was appointed bishop of the diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone by Pope Benedict XVI on 27 July 2011 and was ordained bishop of the diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone by Archbishop Luigi Bressan on 9 October 2011 in the Cathedral of Bressanone. On 29 November 2011 Bishop Muser was elected President of the "Commission for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue" of the Regional Bishops' Conference of North-East Italy. In addition, he is Vice-President of the Bishops' Conference of North-East Italy. Bishop Ivo Muser studied philosophy and theology at the Faculty of Theology of the University of Innsbruck and dogmatics at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Afterwards he worked as a lecturer and from 2002 as professor at the Philosophical-Theological University of Brixen.
With the idea of using image processing to rationalise, automate and optimise processing procedures in industry, in 1980 Federico Giudiceandrea founded MiCROTEC GmbH in Brixen with two friends. Until today he is the managing director and head of the R&D department. Microtec is the world market leader in opto-electronic measurement and control technology for the woodworking industry and has over 250 employees in several locations worldwide with a total turnover of over 55 million Euros. In 2016 he was awarded the Marcus Wallenberg Prize by the Swedish King Karl Gustav. The passionate art collector is president of the South Tyrolean Business Association, member of the Chamber Committee of the South Tyrolean Chamber of Commerce and member of the board of trustees of the Museion Foundation

Philipp Achammer
is the provincial councillor for German education and culture, educational funding, trade and services, crafts, industry and employment, and integration in the South Tyrolean provincial government. He is also chairman of the South Tyrolean People's Party (SVP). In 2013 he was elected to the South Tyrolean parliament as the youngest member of the SVP. Prior to this, he was active as a local youth officer, district youth officer and chairman of the SVP's Young Generation. From 2009 to 2013, Achammer was also secretary of the South Tyrolean People's Party.
Jonas Pentzien is a research associate at the Berlin Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW), where he investigates the design of the platform economy in various institutional contexts. Since 2017 he is a member of platform2share, a five-year research project of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Pentzien studied political economy and comparative politics at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, USA), Freie Universität Berlin (Germany), and Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain) and taught courses on the digital economy at Freie Universität Berlin. He is currently a fellow of the Institute for the Cooperative Digital Economy at the New School (New York City, USA).

Clothilde Sauvages
worked in the cultural field for almost 2 years before joining Ouishare and becoming a “connector”, a core member of the community. Ouishare is an international network that questions the status quo, instigates encounters between actors from different corners of society and is a leader in creating forms of collaboration. Clothilde is involved in both its development and strategy as an organisation, but also in the decentralised governance. She focuses on projects related to the transformation of the urban environment; such as steering a major energy group to become a platform to foster the ecological transition locally. As much as possible, she combines social sciences with art and urban planning, because she is convinced of the creative potential of these frictions.

Call for Papers

Thanks to cooperation with the School of International Business and Entrepreneurship der Steinbeis Universität this year's conference in Bolzano/Bozen and Sluderno/Schluderns is linked to a call for papers for the academic journal Leadership, Education, Personality published by Springer. Further information on the call on the topic  "Democracy, Leadership & Digitalization. How to revise and develop or rethink traditional approaches of political, social and economic organization?" can be found HERE.

Download CfP



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