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Laurence Brahm

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The Economics of Happiness series

We Need a New Consensus

August 19, 2013 | 19:00

Adam Smith would turn over in his grave if he saw Wall Street today, according to American economist, Laurence Brahm who is economic advisor to the Chinese government, and founder of social enterprise Shambhala Serai. On August 19 he discussed the Himalayan Consensus as a new economic paradigm.

On August 19 the Digital October Center’s educational project Knowledge Stream ran a web link with Laurence Brahm: economist, international lawyer and social entrepreneur, who has served as advisor to governments of Vietnam, Laos, Mongolia, Cambodia, and China on economic and financial reforms develop and conduct progressive market reforms.

In the 90’s he ran counter to recommendations of the IMF and World Bank, known as the Washington Consensus (including such ideas as shock therapy and loan conditionality), and turned out to be right.  Currently he is building on his experience to implement a new concept: the Himalayan Consensus, that began when he pioneered a social enterprise in Tibet, but has since spread as far as Africa in representing a new economic paradigm for cultural and environmental sustainability and green growth, He is now calling for a new financial architecture as the new global consensus.

During the course of the lecture Laurence Brahm described in detail how microfinance tools developed with consideration for self-identification and sensible resource exploitation can stabilize local economies as well as the global economy.  He also discussed:

  • why Adam Smith, the “father of capitalism,” would have joined the Occupy Wall Street movement to make his ideas clear and understood
  • how social entrepreneurship began in the Himalayas and is now spreading globally
  • how social entrepreneurs manage to account for 40% of national output on the African continent
  • “fusion economics” and why we need pragmatism over ideology in economics
  • the importance of empowering communities, “compassionate capital” and “stakeholder value”
  • how green growth can become the next economic mega-trend
  • how we can all become “pragmatic idealists.”



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    Mikael Gorsky

    Senior Advisor, Russian Venture Company

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    Victor Efimov

    Professor, Rector, Saint-Petersburg State Agrarian University

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    Evgeny Sgenov

    President, International Association for Continuing Education

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    Ivan Birukov

    Development Director. Head, social business development, Lab Cloudwatcher

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