Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Common Alternatives

Creating Futures Beyond Capital and Carbon

Follow up on the Post-capitalist visions of Quality of Life Webinar

5 min read

On 10 Sept 2021, we were honored to host three progressive thinkers: (1) Professor Noam Chomsky, one of the most influential public intellectual and legendary activists; (2) distinguished American historian and political economist Professor Gar Alperovitz, and (3) prominent ecofeminist Associate Professor Ariel Salleh.

690 people were registered through Eventbrite to watch the event live and 468 registered to watch its recording later.

The webinar was also offered as part of the University of Newcastle’s contribution to the Social Science Week 2021 in Australia.

“Our post-COVID19 communities have been fast and deeply transformed from early 2020. Quality of life will be lower and, hence, poorer, in many places around the world as we cope with the economic downturn, the fracturing of community life, the aggravation of inequalities, and above all, the fast intensification of climate change (2021 IPCC report). Planetary life is under a historically unprecedented threat. The atomic scientists’ doomsday clock points to 100 seconds to midnight. As Chomsky reminded us in his speech “the relevant time scale for overcoming current existential crises is far shorter [than before], in fact, it is now”. Dr Hosseini said.

(00:00) Introduction by Dr Michelle Maloney”

(03:41) Project introduction by Dr S A Hamed Hosseini

(08:52) “Some Ecological Feminist Thoughts on Wellbeing”, by A./Prof. Ariel Salleh

(37:23) “Imagining the Future – if there is one!” by Prof. Noam Chomsky

(49:23) Q and A with Ariel Salleh

(56:38) “Democratizing the Economy: Practical Advances and Long-Term Strategy” presented by Prof. Gar Alperovitz

(1:06:13) Q and A with Gar Alperovitz and Ariel Salleh

(1:41:32) Ending remarks by Michelle Maloney and S A Hamed Hosseini

The webinar SERIES is associated with a SHORT ONLINE survey designed by NENA: Are you interested in expressing your views on the topic? What are the greatest challenges to our communities quality of life and how can we redefine social wellbeing to address today’s challenges?
Please share your views by answering the survey questions here”


From June to October 2021, The Alternative Futures Research Hub (AFRHub), the University of Newcastle’s first community partnered research hub (in partnership with NENA), has been organising a monthly online webinar series that brings together activists, intellectuals and academics from a diverse range of perspectives and experiences to present and discuss their alternative visions about the Quality of Life.

Read more about the background:

Learn about the workshop series:

For more information on the project:

Watch the entire webinar series on YouTube here:

Biographies of the speakers:

Prof. Noam Chomsky, born Dec 7, 1928, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is the Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at MIT, where he worked for 60 years until his retirement and is currently teaches and writes at the University of Arizona, being interviewed on an almost daily basis, at age 92.
Like our other two guests, Gar and Ariel, Noam has dedicated his life and career to deeply transforming not only his sophisticated fields of studies and but also to unveiling the truth on many aspects of human life, educating the public, questioning authorities and power, inspiring many progressive movements, and pursuing humanity’s greatest ideals. 
Among the most recent publications by Noam, relevant to this event, are:

  1. Consequences of Capitalism: Manufacturing Discontent and Resistance
  2. The Precipice: Neoliberalism, the Pandemic, and the Urgent Need for Social Change
  3. What kind of creatures are we?
  4. Internationalism or Extinction
  5. Hopes and Prospects
  6. Hegemony or survival

–  A/Prof. Ariel Salleh is a member of the Global University for Sustainability; Visiting Professor in Humanities at Nelson Mandela University; former Honorary Associate in Political Economy, University of Sydney and Fellow in Post-Growth Societies, Friedrich Schiller University Jena. Her position is developed in Ecofeminism as Politics: Nature, Marx and the postmodern (2017/1997), Eco-Sufficiency & Global Justice: Women Write Political Ecology (2009), and some 200 chapters and articles in Journal of World-Systems Research, The Commoner, Globalizations, Environmental Ethics, New Left Review, and Environmental Politics: Her work builds on experience in the anti-nuclear movement, water politics, biodiversity protection, and support for Asia-Pacific women’s alternatives. She advises on several editorial boards and is a founding editor of the US journal Capitalism Nature Socialism. She has also served as a governor of the International Sociological Association Research Committee for Environment and Society and a member of the Australian Government’s Gene Technology Ethics Committee.

Professor Gar Alperovitz, former Lionel R. Bauman Professor of Political Economy at the University of Maryland, is Co-Chair of The Next System Project (with James Gustav Speth) and Co-Founder of The Democracy Collaborative, an organization devoted to developing community wealth-building approaches to local and national democratic reconstruction.
Alperovitz lectures widely and has testified before numerous Congressional Committees. Alperovitz’s interest in developing alternative economic models based on community wealth building began while he was in the federal government. Over 40 years, he has worked to create several institutions to develop an expansive theory and to implement principles on the ground. In addition to those noted at the outset, he co-founded The Cambridge Institute and The National Center for Economic and Security Alternatives.
Alperovitz’s work as a political economist has centered on theoretical and practical alternatives to both corporate capitalism and traditional state socialism. He holds that the architecture of both suffers from centralized power that fails to support liberty, equality, ecological sustainability, genuine participatory democracy, and community
The list of his recent books include:

  • America Beyond Capitalism: Reclaiming our Wealth, Our Liberty, and Our Democracy 
  • Building Wealth: The New Asset-Based Approach to Solving Social and Economic Problems 
  • Unjust Deserts: How the Rich Are Taking Our Common Inheritance and Why We Should Take It Back
  • What Then Must We Do?: Straight Talk about the Next American Revolution 
  • Principles of a Pluralist Commonwealth

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