Environment and Welfare
The global climate crisis affects present-day social organisation in its entirety, and, increasingly, people are coming to see that the roots of the problems are structural rather than technical. To face the current problems and challenges, what is needed is a critical analysis of the way society is organised and of predominant norms, so that the interconnections between environmental problems and social values and ideals are made visible. The basis of present-day welfare systems is access to cheap oil and perpetual economic growth. In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources, this economic and social model must be fundamentally changed. New ways of sustainably organising and financing human welfare are a dire necessity.
Still today, a large part of the world’s population is mired in deep poverty. The consumption levels of the rich part of the world are not globally sustainable – in a finite world, the environmental space available for human beings is necessarily limited. The connection between increasing material consumption and quality of life has often been assumed to be linear, yet it is being increasingly questioned by greater numbers of people.
The critical exploration of the complex intersections of these areas – environmental destruction, the climate crisis, global inequality, and the organisation of social welfare – constitutes one of Cogito’s central tasks.
Peace and Development
Ours is an age marked by armed conflict or the threat of armed conflict. Acts of war do not only lay waste to lives and resources but also do harm to nature and the environment with long-term effects. Although armed conflict may partly be caused by a set of very different factors – political, historical, ethnic, social, economic, and cultural – the struggle over scarce resources and limited environmental space is often an underlying element.
One of the most crucial issues today is how to deal with the circumstances that give rise to conflicts, in preventive and proactive fashion before they become violent. The present approach to ”conflict resolution” by way of military intervention, not only within the framework of the UN but external to it as well, is alarming. In comparison with the resources spent on military armament and intervention, the scope given to non-violent and civil methods of conflict resolution is neglected. This applies globally as well as to the situation within the EU and in Sweden.
The objective of Cogito’s work in the area of peace and development is to throw into relief the role of scarce resources as the cause of conflict, to explore the possibilities of peaceful prevention of violent conflict, and to examine methods of non-violent conflict resolution.
Ideology and Politics
Political philosophy conventionally refers to three foundational political ideologies: liberalism, conservatism, and socialism. However, there is no comparable established philosophical tradition applicable to the various kinds of ecological or green thought. The emergence of green or environmentalist parties in the 1970s has destabilised traditional categories of political thought.
Cogito explores and scrutinises existing forms of green thinking and political praxis: Are we witnessing the crystallisation of a new way of political thinking, which is no less concise and coherent than traditional ideologies? Moreover, how is green thought being translated into concrete politics?