The first gathering of the Symposium will try to understand and debate the present crisis in Western societies.

Established analyses see capitalism only as an economic system and focus on the wealth inequality that it produces, which is hoped to be overcome by better income distribution or by resuming or furthering economic development. The concerns about the economic injustices that this system constantly creates are of course fully reasonable and necessary, especially today that transnational capital accumulation is enormous and is forcing populations even of wealthy countries into a struggle for survival.

Nevertheless, capitalism is not merely an economic system, but it is an entire culture. Our times are characterised by the globalisation of capitalism both in terms of the dramatic expansion of its power and territory around the world, but also in terms of the extraordinary penetration of its logic in essentially all institutions, forms and activities.

In opening up the topic, I will argue that capitalism, by designating almost everything as a commodity, is disintegrating social institutions, thus undermining severely the potential of individuals to ascribe meaning to their actions and lives outside of the spheres of production and consumption, physical or digital. The consequence is ethical barbarism which is at the root of the present socio-political crisis that we are witnessing.

About the Event Format

The ‘Symposium’ is meant to be a setting of free dialogue on political, social and cultural issues. It is open to all those interested in debating such issues, with the sole expectation that they value real democracy as polity and as ethos. As polity, democracy means equal distribution of decision-making power amongst all citizens, across social institutions, something which, of course, is not the case in our otherwise liberal societies. And as ethos, it means engaging in rational dialogue, namely substantiating an opinion, accepting a different view, if convincing, and, if not, acknowledging disagreement.

In other words, the ‘Symposium’ is for those who, regardless of their particular ideological backgrounds, would like to live in a truly democratic and just world, and for that matter they appreciate profound critical thinking and refined discussion that aims at the truth and elucidates issues. The debate gatherings will be based on a pre-announced topic, which will be expounded by the initiator, and interlocutors will have the chance and all necessary time to express and elaborate on their opinion. Provocative views, challenging analyses, radical thinking, and thorough dialogue, aimed at establishing clear conclusions, are highly welcome (but not dogmatism, irrationality, verbalism, or antagonisms). Gatherings will be taking place in a public space, most likely a Kultur Center. Any costs to reserve a room, which normally should be low, will be shared amongst the participants.

About the host

Stavros is an Associate Professor at Aarhus University and a member of