For a transformed European-African exchange in the era of the circular economy

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A refined Universe (Serpico, oil on canvas)

Looking across the sea from the European continent — say from the Italian coast, where I was born — to the African land, our media and political actors appear only capable of seeing two things: a fleet of fragile ships trying to reach our borders, and a flow of money trying to keep them away. That sea, nowadays, is a sea of despair, death and dreadful human rights violations.

Today we’ll navigate that sea — swimming against the tide — to discover a different story. Not anymore the one of a poor child begging for help, but a story of bottom-up innovation, self-determination and open collaboration. This journey will certainly require less audacity and desperation than the one refugees and migrants are often pushed to undertake, but will still entail a substantial dose of courage. …

A conversation with Hanzi Freinacht

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Hanzi Freinacht is a political philosopher, historian and sociologist, author of The Listening Society, and the upcoming books Nordic Ideology and 6 Hidden Patterns of World History. Hanzi epitomizes much of the metamodern philosophy and can be considered a personification of this strand of thought. Much of his time is spent alone in the Swiss Alps.

Editor’s note: To facilitate the exploration and assimilation of ideas, this conversation is divided into two parts.

Part I: Listening Society; Metamodernism; Values; Citizenship

Dear Hanzi, thank you for your kind hospitality in this beautiful little gem in the Swiss Alps; what a wonderful scenery for our conversation! In order to make readers become familiar with you, I’d like to start by focusing on your book, The Listening Society, in which you state that “we desperately need a deeper kind of welfare, beyond the confines of material welfare and medical security — a listening society, where every person is seen and heard”. How does a Listening Society look like? …

(…As She told me to write it down)

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The flight of freedom, Serpico

To my fellow travellers,

These humble words I wish to write,

With the hope to build new characters,

For a beautiful sunrise after the night.

As the skies above the ground

Have started to look dark,

Some run around,

Others ignore the fact.

Like a puzzled dog

That can’t stop to bark,

You haven’t yet found

What is the right track.

Here I am then,

To openly talk to you,

As if nothing happened

And the sky was still light blue.

Not words to blame you,

But rather to firmly remind

That, far from any glamorous trend,

Transformation is the only chance you stand. …

A conversation with David Ellerman

David Ellerman works in disparate fields, from economics and political economy, to social theory and philosophy, to mathematical logic and quantum mechanics. From 1992 to 2003, he worked, at the World Bank, as economic advisor to the Chief Economist (Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern). He has published numerous articles and books, among which The Democratic Worker-Owned Firm (1990), Property and Contract in Economics: The Case for Economic Democracy (1992), and Helping People Help Themselves: From the World Bank to an Alternative Philosophy of Development Assistance (2005). …

A conversation with Alison McRae

Alison McRae is Senior Director of Circular Glasgow, an initiative of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce that works to inspire businesses of all sizes to innovate and adopt circular strategies, within the collective ambition of positioning Glasgow as a leading circular city. As a network and partnerships entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience, Alison leads the creative team for Circular Glasgow and is responsible for enabling its vision and strategic goals. Circular Glasgow has been recently shortlisted as finalist for the Circulars 2019 global awards, in the category circular economy public sector.

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Kosmos, Serpico (oil on canvas, 2018).

Hi Alison, I’m delighted to have you here taking us on a circular journey through Glasgow. To begin with, how was Circular Glasgow born and which actors are involved?

An interview with Murielle Diaco

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The spirit of nature, Serpico (

Murielle Diaco is founder and CEO of Djouman, one of the leading platforms catalysing innovation for sustainability in Africa. She decided to launch Djouman in order to show the innovating face of Africa and provide the people working on African sustainable development with the resources they require. She strongly believes in the ability of African people to solve the challenges on the way to an inclusive, restorative and circular economic model.

Hi Murielle, it is a great pleasure to have you here for a conversation, exploring together the potential of the circular economy for Africa. …

…but things might change.

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Universal basic income is the idea to give a sum of money (income) to all citizens (universal) in order to provide for basic necessities (basic). Such payment from government to citizens is unconditional, meaning that it is granted to everyone regardless of personal wealth, income and resources.

Departing from its theoretical formulation, this idea can be translated into a variety of designs. …

Claire Janisch is a Biomimicry professional and sustainability and innovation advisor. She works in the areas of strategy, technology and education, and is the leading trainer and consultant for Biomimicry in South Africa, where she founded and currently heads up BiomimicrySA. Claire was selected in the Mail & Guardian’s 200 young South Africans in 2009, 2010 & 2011, and was finalist in the Most Influential Women in Business & Government awards in 2012.

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Hi Claire, it is a pleasure to have you here to explore together the world of biomimicry. …

Nancy Bocken is Professor in Sustainable Business Management and Practice at The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University, Sweden and Associate Professor at Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology. She is also Fellow at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership. Nancy’s main areas of interests around sustainability are: business models, business experimentation, innovation for sustainability, scaling up sustainable businesses, and closing the ‘idea-action’ gap in sustainability.

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Hi Nancy, thanks for taking the time to sit at the table with me. Let me start this conversation by hinging from your experience as an academic researcher. …

Anne Raudaskoski is co-founder and principal consultant of Ethica, a circular economy consulting based in Finland. Previously, she used to work as a Sustainability Manager at the University of Westminster in London. She currently focuses on the development of new concepts and tools in relation to circular design, business models and customer experience. She has a past career as a professional dancer and she firmly believes that the circular economy is the best way to build the future.

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Hi Anne, glad to have you here. Let me start from Ethica, the Finnish award-winning circular economy consulting you founded together with Paula Fontell in 2013. …


Circular Conversations

Shaping an alternative for the socio-economic system of today. Welcome to [ original paintings: Serpico].

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