(English) Michel de Kemmeter « We have to stop with these subsidised micro-solutions »

Source : L’Echo
Translation : Club of Brussels

9,000 billion is a huge number! How can we deal with this challenge?

We no longer have the choice: we can no longer think in this linear way of finding a solution for every issue. With that in mind, traditional economic thought and our political leaders who offer subsidised micro-solutions are destined to fail.

What new paradigm should we follow?

Only one science can help us: « systemic » science. To put it simply, everyone brings one or more « multi-solutions », that is to say solutions that answer several issues at the same time. For example, we do not need ecological agriculture. We need an ecological agriculture that leads to training, includes young people in difficulty, creates social bonds, structures short circuits, regenerates biotopes, etc.

There has to be a change in mentality. How is it done?

Humans reacts only in the face of a shock, where they are faced with an obligation to react. Today, in Belgium, we are not there yet. We are doings things that are nice, but very local. We are not doing it at the right scale.

Is there a methodology to follow?

Everyone must become a new entrepreneur: in his life, in his job, in his future. We come from a world where the welfare state cares for everyone. Soon, we will not have this luxury anymore. Personal accountability is the key. Everyone will have to be aware of the issues but also of their own qualities that are lying dormant. Our region has one of the lowest entrepreneurship rates in the world. While we are going to need to be 100% entrepreneurs, on a collective scale. We must stop believing that the ball is in the court of politics, they will have to be played with as much as corporations.

Are you pushing for collaborative democracy?

Very much so. It will be necessary to rethink territorial governance, and to rethink the implications of companies and individuals. There have been some very inspiring examples that we must be on the lookout for. In Saillans in France, the citizens squatted the town hall, and the mayor and his team finally implemented the demands of the citizens. In Bregenz, they have initiated the « Office of Future-related Issues » for citizens. All the solutions are there! We have combined and superimposed twenty examples and developed an effective roadmap. We are now testing it at a small scale, in the province of Brabant Wallon.

Are other parts of the world more open-minded?

I stopped travelling two years ago to focus on Belgium. But now, we have been approached by several other territories. North Africa, for example, has a culture based on collaboration, between families and so on. Latin American cultures are well connected to their land, their territory and their communities, they are fundamentally oriented towards the collaborative and contributive economy. Same goes for some Asian countries too, like Bali. A while back in Rwanda, citizens had to spend 10% to 15% of their time in service of the community, creating a common cultural wealth. Certain countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa are experiencing very strong growth. What is interesting is that these countries do not want to make the same mistakes as the West, by destroying the environment and the people.

Posted in Articles for L'Echo.