Dr. Friederike Habermann: Give back what you make.

Friday, March 10, 17:00 – 17:55


»Give back what you make« is a quote from the musical documentary ›Surfing the Waste‹, where young people living in New York celebrate the »abundance all over town« – while dumpster diving and cooking together. »To give is in reality to pass on what one got before«, the feminist authors of ‘ABC of the good life’ postulate. Once we understand our relatedness we can start to see the abundance we (could) create cooperatively.

The aim of my session is threefold:

First, to illustrate how a (global) society is taking shape by technological developments but also by new forms of organising our everyday lifes; a society that is not based on scarcity and not on competition, but on commons and peers creating commons.

Second, how people today not only believe in this but start with whatever is possible under current conditions – because there is no other way of transformation than us creating it, and because doing so enriches our lives today. But also, because it opens up spaces to resist the logic and pressures of the ‘market’, both for designers and for everybody else taking part in this.

The third aim – how design can foster & facilitate these spaces – could be your part to give!

Short Bio

Dr. Friederike Habermann is a German economist and historian with a PhD in political science as well as an author and an independent academic.

Three of her books deal with alternative approaches to economy: Aus der Not eine andere Welt (2004) explores the alternative economy in Argentina after the financial crisis in 2001; Halbinseln gegen den Strom (2009) describes all kinds of alternative economic projects in the German speaking area. In her recent book, Ecommony (2016), she stresses the possibility for even a global economy that is based on commons and that is creating commons. In all these books, she is trying to combine an analysis of transformational processes with a feminist perspective.

She lives in a commons-based project near Berlin.

You can learn more about Dr. Friederike Habermann on this website.

Suggested Readings


  • What do you want to have done in your life?
  • Who do you want to have done it for and, as a result, what do you want them to be able to?
  • Who can you do it with?