About the author, Maja Göpel (*1976 in Bielefeld).
Maja Göpel is a political economist, transformation researcher, sustainability expert, and social scientist with a focus on transdisciplinary thinking. She graduated as a media economist from the University of Siegen in 2001 and received her PhD in political economy (Dr. rer. pol.) from the Universities of Hamburg and Kassel in 2007. In her thesis, which was peer-reviewed by Christoph Scherrer and Ulrich Brand, she focused on institutionalist theories and hegemonic practices of global policymaking and the premises of liberal democratic nation-state orders. She has worked on the topics of globalization and sustainability, sustainable development, and intergenerational justice, among others, as an honorary member of the International Working Group of the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND).
From 2006 she worked for the World Future Council, first as Campaign Manager Climate Energy in Hamburg and from 2008 to 2012 as Director Future Justice in the Brussels office. The Future Policy Award and the work on Governance Innovations for the Interests of Future Generations, which was discontinued in 2018, were also created during this time. From February 2013 to September 2017, she was director of the Berlin office of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy, focusing her work on the field of sustainability transformations. During this time, she also worked as a visiting scholar at Leuphana.
In 2016, she published the book 'The Great Mindshift', based on research on system transformations, political economy and change management, focusing on proposals to change the mindsets (mentality) and competencies that shape technical, economic and social institutions. Various projects have translated these ideas into trainings. From September 1, 2017 to October 31, 2020, she was Secretary General of the German Advisory Council on Global Change (WBGU). As a result, she was a member of the Expert Committee on Science of the German Commission for UNESCO. Together with other scientists, she presented the initiative 'Scientists for Future' in March 2019, which was founded to support the student protests 'Fridays for Future' in. From November 2020 to July 2021, she was the scientific director of the think tank 'The New Institute' founded in Hamburg in 2020. She ranked 17th in the FAZ economist ranking in 2021.
Research on sustainable transformation
For the transformation to a sustainable society, Maja Göpel works from an evolutionary understanding of economy and society, whereby metrics such as value creation, productivity, competitiveness and growth need to be continuously rethought, measured and organized, depending on changes in current conditions. Today, at the beginning of the Anthropocene, planetary boundaries and ecosystem services are thus in focus and become central prerequisites for future individual and societal well-being. The latter should become an explicit goal of societal progress. In addition, a corresponding understanding of innovation is crucial, as is future education or transformative literacy, which turns those affected into actors in change processes.
Central points of her thoughts on sustainable economies and socially just societies are: Growth not as an absolute end, but as a means, and corresponding correction of national and corporate accounts and balancing; strategic management and rapid regeneration of natural and finite resources and corresponding recognition of maximum use budgets; Adjustment of the tax system so that resource consumption is burdened and circular value creation is favored, so that productive labor is relieved and previously unpaid care work is recognized; ending tax privileges for financial capital, high wealth and incomes that favor rent-seeking; systemic innovation strategies that seek policy coherence across sectors and departments from a long-term perspective.
Maja Göpel lives with her family in Werder (Havel).
Books by Maja Göpel
- 'The Great Mindshift: How a New Economic Paradigm and Sustainability Transformations go Hand in Hand (The Anthropocene: Politics. Economics. Society. Science Book 2)' (2016);
- 'Unsere Welt neu denken: Eine Einladung' (2020, mit Marcus Jauer);
- 'Pandemie und Klima. Ein Gespräch über eine nachhaltige Welt' (2021);
- 'Schöpfen und Erschöpfen' (2022, mit Eva von Redecker);
- 'Wir können auch anders. Aufbruch in die Welt von morgen' (2022, mit Marcus Jauer);
- 'Rethinking Our World: An Invitation to Rescue Our Future' (coming in 2023)
- 2019: Adam Smith Prize for free-market environmental policy & ZEIT WISSEN Prize 'Courage for Sustainability'
2020: Environment and Sustainability Award of the Federal German Working Group for Environmentally Conscious Management
2021: Erich-Fromm-Prize, Theodor-Heuss-Prize and the Science Communication-Medal
2022: Frauenringsfrau 2022