President of the Board The Transnational Institute (TNI-Amsterdam) / Honorary President of ATTAC-France
BACKGROUND / Academic and professional background
Susan George graduated from Smith College (Northampton, Massachusetts, USA) in Language, French Literature & Political Science, she also holds a Bachelor in Philosophy from La Sorbonne and a PhD in Political Science from the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS). Her thesis was published by the Graduate Institute of Development Studies, Geneva.
She is Doctor Honoris Causa of Newcastle University and of Madrid’s Universidad Nacional de Educacion a Distancia (UNED).
In 2007, Susan George was named “Outstanding Public Scholar” by the International Political Economy section of the International Studies Association.
She is the author and co-author of 17 books written in English and French, and translated into twenty languages: Les Usurpateurs (Le Seuil, 2014) ; Whose Crisis, Whose Future? (Polity Press, 2010) ; Hijacking America: How the Religious and Secular Right Changed What Americans Think (Polity Press, 2008) ; We the Peoples of Europe (Pluto Press, 2008) ; Another World is Possible if… (Verso, New York and London, 2004) ; The Lugano Report: On preserving capitalism in the 21st century (Pluto Press, 1999), etc.
Susan George is a lecturer in many countries and she conducts various projects with French, Spanish, English, German and Italian NGOs. She is a member, or a former member, of various Boards of Directors (Greenpeace France, Greenpeace International, Corporate Europe Observatory) and the author of several reports for UN agencies.
ACHIEVEMENT / What is the project, initiative, startup, company you will be presenting at the Positive Economy Forum ?
“My work, my ambition and my project which revealed itself gradually: being either a “scholar-activist” or a researcher, writer and essayist but also a (non-violent!) militant, participating in today’s political and ecological struggles. I work my style a lot, to make it simple and understandable for someone without prior knowledge of the subject.”
LOCATION / In which city, country, part of the world do you conduct your activities ?
“Wherever I am welcomed and/or published. I was born in the US but I am a French citizen by choice and I’ve lived in Paris for decades. The Transnational Institute, which has been my “intellectual home” for 40 years, is located in Amsterdam but gathers together “scholar-activists” from all around the world.
IMPACT / What is the economic, social, political, environmental or positive impact of your activity, project, initiative, startup, company ?
“The answer to the “impact question” is impossible to give. For example, in 1998, France withdrew from the negotiations of a rogue treaty, called the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), and I know it was largely because of my action, which convinced people in high-places. However, all political projects are inevitably collective.
I’m told by many people from various countries that one of my books, interviews or lectures has either changed their way of thinking, the direction of their studies or even their professional or political commitment, but a “knowledge worker” like me who tells you that he or she had such a global impact can’t be taken seriously. We do what we consider fair and true and we hope it will be useful for others.
The study of power in all its forms and in all fields has been a constant of my work. I tell young readers or social scientists: “Study the rich and the powerful, not the poor and the powerless. The latter already know what’s wrong in their lives, they don’t need you. If you really want to help them, give them, give us useful knowledge about the characteristics and modus operandi of those who oppress them and keep them in poverty and injustice.” I’ve been active for long on the plagues hitting the” Third World” (hunger, underdevelopment, debt …) but today, my targets are rather dogma artisans, neoliberal policies and transnational corporations, often more powerful than the States themselves.
QUOTE/ A saying, quote or maxim that tells something about you ?
“What comes into the world and disturbs nothing, deserves neither respect nor patience.” René Char