— Official Jury Report—
The jury read all the submissions for the essay contest of the Future Markets Consultation with great interest. We would like to cordially thank all participants for sharing their ideas and views on the future of the market economy in Europe. The essays provide great input for our final consultation report, which we will publish later this year.
The jury has divided the essays in three categories: bachelor students, master students and young scholars, a category which also includes PhD students.
Unfortunately, no prize will be awarded in the category of bachelor students. Due to the low number of submissions in this category, we felt that a fair comparison between the essays was not possible and none of the essays submitted stood out as a clear winner.
In the category of master students, the jury had a hard time selecting the winner. All the essays that are nominated in this category have their own strength and weaknesses. The following authors were nominated, in alphabetical order of last name:
- Luka Blankevoort, a Dutch master student in international development studies and in climate studies at Wageningen University
- Mark Beckmann, a German master student in economics at the Vienna University of Economics and Business
- Camila Posada, a Columbian master student in agricultural and development economics at Wageningen University,
- Michiel van Veluwen, a Dutch master student in governance & management at Utrecht University
- Martijn de Vries, a Dutch master student in philosophy (University of Amsterdam) and environment & resource management (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
We will briefly share the topic of the essay and the findings of the jury with you:
- Luka Blankevoort wrote an essay titled “Circular Economy in Degrowth for Environmental Sustainability.” In this essay Blankevoort discusses whether realizing a circular economy is sufficient to deal with the sustainability challenges that we face. She argues that this is not the case and that degrowth is also necessary. The essay has a clear structure and line of argumentation, but could be strengthened by a further integration of existing literature and empirical research on degrowth. Overall, the jury appreciates that the author challenges the reader with her critical questions about how we could realize a sustainable economy.
- The essay of Mark Beckmann is titled “The Democratising Potential of a Digital Euro.” Beckmann makes a very specific proposal to transform the financial sector, managing to link this to broader themes such as inequality and sustainability. The writing style could have been more engaging, but the jury found it to be a well-structured and well-informed essay, and especially appreciates that the author manages to explain a rather complex topic quite clearly to the reader. It would be interesting to hear from financial experts what they think of the proposal made by the author.
- Camila Posada discussed her ideas in an essay titled “A New rule Book for a New Transition.” The jury found this to be an original, well-written essay that captures the interest of the reader, although it takes a while before the central question becomes clear. The author expresses the need for taking into account ideas from the economic history when drafting rules for the transition towards a more sustainable economy. The jury had some critical remarks on details, such as the author’s definition of a transition period and the importance of labor as a production factor in the economy. However, overall, the jury found the essay to be a valuable contribution to the debate.
- “Moving Forward and Finding Balance in a Dynamic System” was the topic of an essay by Michiel van Veluwen. This essay takes a broad view on the future of the market economy, establishing a connection between topics such as Covid, the banking sector and the environmental crisis. The jury appreciates the description of the dynamics of economics systems, but the author takes a bit too long to get to the point. The essay could also be improved by taking into account possible objections that one could raise against the position that the author takes.
- Finally, Martijn de Vries argued that “The Challenge for a Future Economy that Promotes Human Flourishing Is Broadening What Economists Value.” The author argues that the capability approach of Amartya Sen, a Nobel prize winner in economics, provides a fruitful perspective to tackle the sustainability challenges that we face. It is well-written and makes for an interesting read, but the author could have done more to explain the novelty and added value of the approach for realizing sustainable growth. It could also benefit from taking existing literature on the capability approach and sustainability into account.
As said, the jury found it hard to choose a winner from these five essays given the different qualities and weaknesses of each essay. In the end, a decision was made to grant the prize in the category of master students to Camila Posada. This essay was nicely balanced, providing clear linkages between insights from the past and future policies.
In the category of young scholars, four authors have been nominated. We will briefly introduce their essays as well before announcing the winner, this time in reversed alphabetical order of last name. The nominated people are:
- Pim Post, an interdisciplinary Dutch PhD student at Utrecht University
- Babatunde Onabajo, a British independent researcher
- Malte Hendricks, a German/Dutch PhD student in philosophy at the University of Michigan
- Fausto Corvino, an Italian researcher in moral and political philosophy at the University of Turin
Let us also briefly introduce their essays:
- Pim Post wrote an essay titled “Rethinking Our Rights to Resources.” The jury found it to be a well-structured, well-written, original plea to rethink how we deal with wealth distribution and planetary boundaries. It is a relatively short essay, and the jury thinks that it is a missed opportunity that the author has not taken the space available to provide a first exploration of the ways in which the theoretical ideas discussed in this essay might be implemented in practice.
- The question that Babatunde Onabajo asks, is whether “it is time to rethink quotas” as a way to realize equal opportunities on the labor market. The author is well-informed about the topic and makes a carefully constructed and pretty convincing argument. We would like to encourage this author as well to take further steps in making the proposed changes more concrete.
- The essay written by Malte Hendricks, titled “Laissez-Concurrencer!” is less original than the previous two essays, but very convincing and a bit more concrete in the solutions that it proposes. It makes the case for better markets rather than abandoning markets as a solution to the challenges of sustainability and inequality. The jury in particular appreciates the author’s discussion of German energy policy as a case.
- Finally, Fausto Corvino wrote a paper with the title “A Fair Allocation of the Costs of Precarious Employment: A Proposal for Europe.” It is a highly original essay that tackles an urgent societal challenge with two different yet complementary proposals, namely (1) to loosen the guarantees protecting real estate and financial rent and (2) a peer-to-peer evaluation system for precarious workers. It is a well-written and well-argued essay that keeps the reader interested all the way through.
Although the jury highly appreciated all these four essays, there was a clear winner that stood out from the rest. And that is the essay by Fausto Corvino. We applaud this essay for the originality as well as the quality, which were considered both outstanding.