Rethinking Society for the 21st Century

Report of the International Panel for Social Progress


The “Rethinking Society for the 21st Century” conference was held on 09 January 2020 in Auditorium 3 at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, based on the findings of the report of the International Panel for Social Progress, whose main message is that market institutions are necessary, but are far from being able to provide a basis for a fair society which can ensure justice and human dignity simultaneously with sustainability and soundness.

The main message of this Report on social progress is that justice can certainly be cultivated and social progress can be substantially enhanced through combining a constructive vision with well-thought-out changes in institutions and conventions. In contemporary debates on political economy too much time may have been spent already arguing for or against the market economy. We need to move on to the recognition that market institutions are necessary but far from sufficient as a basis of a just society – a society that guarantees fairness and human dignity as well as sustainability and robustness.



Olivier BouinRethinking Society for the 21st Century
Marc FleurbaeyRethinking Society for the 21st Century



Marc Fleurbaey is an economist, professor at Princeton University (Woodrow Wilson School and Centre for Human Values) and member of Collège d’Études Mondiales (Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’ Homme, Paris). He is co-author of Beyond GDP (with Didier Blanchet, Cambridge University Press, 2013) and A Theory of Fairness and Social Welfare (with François Maniquet, Cambridge University Press, 2011), and author of Fairness, Responsibility and Welfare (Oxford University Press, 2008). He was a coordinating lead author for the IPCC – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – 5th Report, and one of the initiators of the International Panel on Social Progress. He is also a member of the United Nations Committee on Development Policy, and of the Council for Global Problem-Solving.

Olivier Bouin is an economist, director of the RFIEA Foundation (Fondation Réseau Français des Instituts d’Etudes Avancées), which supports Institutes for Advanced Study in France, Europe and worldwide, and former director of the Collège d’Études Mondiales (Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’ Homme, Paris). His research interests focus on institutional economics, European economics and international science policies. He is the co-editor of Europe’s Crises (with Manuel Castells et al., Polity Press, 2018). He is a member of the Governing Board of the European Alliance for Social Sciences and Humanities and one of the initiators of the International Panel on Social Progress.



Find out more about the presentation of the study, its programme and speakers.

Updated on 26 january 2022

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