Verkaufte Zukunft by Jens Beckert: Book Discussion at Stadtbibliothek Köln

May 16, 2024

At the beginning of April, Cologne’s Central Library in cooperation with the MPIfG and Buchhandlung Klaus Bittner hosted a discussion on Jens Beckert’s latest German-language book, Verkaufte Zukunft: Warum der Kampf gegen den Klimawandel zu scheitern droht. The initial question of why the social sciences should be concerned with climate change in the first place opened an evening of stimulating discussion in which Beckert explained the line of argument in his analysis. It was not a matter of being alarmist, he stressed, but of realistically analyzing the economic and sociological dynamics of growth societies, which are heavily dependent on fossil fuels. It was problematic, he continued, that the public often saw climate policy as a threat to their standard of living, while companies were driven by the pursuit of profit, and politics lacked financial means as well as leadership and communication. In spite of his sobering analysis, Beckert can see a ray of hope in local climate initiatives and advocated a stronger link between climate, social, and structural policy in order to effectively tackle climate challenges. Around 120 people attended the event, which was moderated by Gert Scobel. Describing the book as the best current analysis on the subject of society and climate change, he said Beckert’s analysis made it possible to better understand social and political contexts and identify where there was scope for action.

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