The organization of production, exchange and consumption is decisively shaped by large public and private actors: businesses, multinationals, distributors, research laboratories, states and their agencies, business banks, pension funds and so on. Depending on the context, these actors form relations of rivalry and cooperation among themselves, thus giving rise to specific “institutional arrangements” which durably mark the economic, social and political life of a society.
Today, there is no choice but to recognize that these arrangements are less and less able to control collective life and assure social cohesion. Each of the actors pursues his own interest but the sum of these interests does not constitute a general interest. Does calling upon the social conscience of business circles suffice to compensate for these imbalances? Are international law, major NGOs and “organized” consumer groups capable of constituting a sufficient counterweight?
What’s more, it is the arrangements themselves that must be reconsidered. The task is to show that innovation is possible, that present forms of organization are not given once and for all and that they can be modified and even replaced by others that are better tailored to respond to the social and environmental requirements of our time.
IRE seeks to contribute to this effort by organizing events and offering on its site analyses and studies concerning the nature of businesses, responsible social and environmental practices, private and public regulation measures and the diversity, effectiveness and legitimacy of social models, the taxation measures and so on.