Economic growth, development, planning
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AbstractThe call for a new humanism in the 21st century roots in the conviction that the moral, intellectual and political foundations of globalization and international cooperation have to be rethought. Whilst the historic humanism was set out to resolve tensions between tradition and modernity and to reconcile individual rights with newly emerging duties of citizenship, the new humanism approach goes beyond the level of the nation state in seeking to unite the process of globalization with its complex and sometimes contradictory manifestations. The new humanism therefore advocates the social inclusion of every human being at all levels of society and underlines the transformative power of education, sciences, culture and communications. Therefore, humanism today needs to be perceived as a collective effort that holds governments, civil society, the private sector and human individuals equally responsible to realize its values and to design creatively and implement a humanist approach to a sustainable society, based on economic, social and environmental development. New humanism describes the only way forward for a world that accounts for the diversity of identities and the heterogeneity of interests and which is based on inclusive, democratic, and, indeed, humanist values. Humanism did evolve into the grand movement of human spiritual and creative liberation, which enabled an unparalleled acceleration of prosperity and transformation of civilizations. In line with humanist ethics, the material growth was understood as a collective good, which was to serve all participants of a community and meant to enable the socio-economic progress of society. The exact definition of humanism has historically fluctuated in accordance with successive and diverse strands of intellectual thought. The underlying concept rests on the universal ideas of human emancipation, independence and social justice. Humanism can hence be understood as a moral inspiration for critical reflection and positive action, aiming to establish a society based on peace, justice, democracy and human rights. The moral foundations implied by humanism have universal claim and encompass all periods and times of human development. The realization of such humanist values is not a given, but a continuous task; it is not static or predetermined, but dynamic in nature, constantly striving to adapt to changing societal conditions. Today’s unprecedented and unpredictable global problems put to test the progress of human civilization and the very core of the humanist idea. All these aspects constitute a crucial turning point, which demands a profound restart of reflection on purely neoliberal approaches to development. Scholars as well as practitioners have started to examine the negative influences of globalization, neoliberalism, and of the attempts to reproduce the industrial countries’ development experiences in countries trying to find their own strategy to and their particular form of development. It has been in this context that the concepts of sustainability and of a new humanism have penetrated the international discourse, pushing for a critical reflection and inclusive reorientation of developmental policies. Thus the need for an inclusive, sustainable development concept has never been so critical. Sustainable development with its three pillars—economic, social, and environmental—has come to become the central plank of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda to be adopted in September 2015 by the UN summit. Arguably, at the heart of this agenda lies the notion of a new humanism.