The first presentation of the Session Four was by Gunna Jung, professor of Hanshin University Economics Department, under the theme of Transition to Ecological Civilization and the Role of Social Economy. Jung stressed that the twenty first century has focused solely on economic growth and an ecological economic transformation is the only solution to sustain our lives on the planet Earth where the natural resources are limited. He added that although it is estimated that the cost incurred by climate change each year will reach 5~20% of the total global GDP, if we act now by making the rational choice we pay about 1% of the total GDP annually to avoid the worst effects. His alternative suggestion is expanding “collaborative sharing” technically and socially in a local community. Co-operatives, social enterprises, shared economies, communal kitchens and transitional villages that appears and grow in various areas are examples of it.
Zack Walsh, research of Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Potsdam, Germany, presented with the theme of The Shift to a Commons Paradigm. He said that capitalism and privatization have escalated the use of public natural resources such as air, water and soil which led to a “tragedy of commons”. It destroyed the environment and caused the climate change today and this paradigm should be changed. He explained although the traditional concept of commons is relationship-oriented and human life’s continuing vitality has depended on commons, capitalism has never recognized its value. He added that sharing common resources is essential to our life and the shift to a shared paradigm based on “ecology of commons” can be a solution to the 21st century crisis.
Chung Hae Kang, professor of University of Seoul Law School, gave a presentation on Earth Jurisprudence and New Economic System. She emphasized that a new form of law is necessary to deal with the crisis we have faced and it is time to introduce Earth jurisprudence which extends the jurisdiction to all objects that make up the Earth such as rivers, mountains, and animals. She said that there is a need to create a new concept of ownership to limit the right to monopolize the common heritage of the Earth and economic laws which introduced at the beginning of the 20th century to solve new problems such as large corporations and labor disputes are limited in solving our current issues.
During the Group Discussion, Jongho Kim, senior researcher of Korea Environment Institute, talked about Sustainability of the Korean economy and obstacles to the ecological transition under the theme of the Sustainability and ‘Metabolism’ of Korean Economy. He pointed out that globally economic growth has followed the opposite paths to sustainability and so has Korea’s economic growth.
Siwon Park, professor of Kangwon National University School of Law, pointed out that the top-down approach to the paradigm shift seems to be a drag on, as political power is heavily influenced by economic power in Korea during her discussion under the theme of Escape from the Familiar System and the Process. She added that in order for the new shared economy to become mainstream it is very important to manage the vested interests of the current system.