Rethinking Society: Challenges and Hopes for the 21st Century

Mon, Dec 10, 2018, 6:30 pm
Princeton Public Library | 65 Witherspoon Street | Community Room

Book Discussion and Film Screening

Marc Fleurbaey, the Robert E. Kuenne Professor in Economics and Humanistic Studies and professor of public affairs and the University Center for Human Values, will present highlights and key findings from “A Manifesto for Social Progress,” the companion book to the International Panel on Social Progress’ (IPSP) three-volume report, “Rethinking Society for the 21st Century.”
Written by Fleurbaey and other IPSP members, the book brings together the key messages of the IPSP report, which nearly 300 researchers from around the world worked on for several years. The report examines the prospects for social progress in the light of today’s social sciences.
At the event, journalist Sofie Wolthers, multimedia journalist and filmaker, will screen her documentary “A New Society.” Following the screening, Wolthers and Fleurbaey, will lead a post-event discussion on the challenges and hopes for the 21st century.  Light refreshments will be served. 


Director: Sofie Wolthers, Producer: Eileen Jerrett (Wilma’s Wish Productions)


Human suffering has not stopped with the rise of capitalism nor the collapse of the utopian dream. Amongst the imbalances and inequalities existing, the quest for justice cannot be over yet. In the wake of extraordinary threats to our future, an opportunity has arisen to help form our world in new ways. Expert and moral guidelines have been conceived to ensure the rights and security of those who inhabit our planet.

In July of 2014 a monumental task began as hundreds of the world's leading academics came together to set new standards for a just, secure and healthy global society. The International Panel for Social Progress has been tirelessly forming a non-partisan report addressed to all social actors, movements, organizations, politicians, and decision-makers in order to provide an architecture for tackling current and future global issues and crises.

The visionary authors of the IPSP are creating societal standards, a baseline for human rights.  This is unique as it is approached from hundreds of angles. This project, ambitious, courageous, and necessary, is unlike anything we've seen before.

The story of this diverse group of passionate specialists makes way for a new wave of citizenry, accessing the unique skill set of those who want to help their world beyond the walls of their academic institutions.

Can a social manifesto work as a universal guidebook for the issues we face as a global community?

We follow 6 IPSP authors and their touching personal stories, why they became involved, the dynamics of the group, their challenges and successes, and how this report plays a role in their life's work. We visit them in their home town/city/villages, spend time with their families and see them interacting in their day jobs. We explore their eclectic differences in region, cuisine, and culture all while following their journey within the IPSP and the core of their work: a better society for future generations. These authors are not just academics but in fact social activists.

As part of bringing the audience closer to the content in a humanly compelling and clear narrative, we will also be filming the field work of the World Values Survey to show the diverse landscapes, cultures, and values that mold those inhabiting this world.

We want to learn why and where we need social progress. We have learned so much from the authors we have met with so far. This documentary will be a way to share their valuable insight with the world. During an interview with sociologist and IPSP author Saskia Sassen, she said, "the IPSP intersects with all the main questions that we confront in today's world". We want to learn about and broadcast the solutions the panel is ready to offer! The IPSP proposes visions for a better future! We want to expose these ideas to an audience outside of academia. We want the efforts of the panel to be heard.

The footage and interviews with community members taken with the help of the WVS will be used to make the work of the featured IPSP authors relatable to a wider audience. The imagery will help us to tell the story of both the IPSP, World Values Survey, and those working towards ushering us into new progressive societal standards. Standards which have answers to crisis, warnings and preventions of future catastrophes.

“Scholars have a responsibility to contribute to social progress by sharing their expertise. A collective voice on a comprehensive synthesis may have a special ability to generate momentum and become authoritative. We can't stay on the side and watch humanity waste its tremendous opportunities.”

  -Marc Fleurbaey, IPSP lead organizer.

The trailer of "A New Society" is visible on the producer's website:

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