Basic principles and “red lines” of the agreement: Aspen Institute Kyiv held the first seminar on the social contract

On June 2, the Aspen Institute in Kyiv held the first seminar “On the Social Contract”. The participants were members of the Aspen community – leaders in politics, business, law, science, and other fields. The unique leadership experience of the participants allowed them to look at the concept of a social contract from different points of view.

The universal values ​​and characteristics of Ukrainians. Priority principles of the social contract

Discussing classical and modern texts, the seminar participants expressed their views on the priority principles of social agreement. Such an agreement should compound both universal values ​​and characteristics of Ukrainians. Among the basic principles of the social contract were:

  • The common values ​​and the value of human life should be a base for the social contract. If there is no value in the basis of a social agreement, this agreement loses its meaning.
  • The mutual dependence between freedom and responsibility. If to break this connection, both will be lost.
  • Property protection is a guarantee of freedom. The emergence of property as a social institution is associated with the emergence of justice. For Ukrainians, the property is crucial.
  • Highest disclosure of human potential. Educated citizens are drivers of responsibility and development.
  • Taking into account the phenomenon of self-organization of Ukrainians, which we see through the volunteer movement. At the same time, this phenomenon needs to be institutionalized and developed.

As factors will hinder the formation and functioning of social agreement

As in the case of any other agreement, there are “red lines” in the social contract formation and its further functioning. Among such the seminar participants named:

  • Double standards. In particular, this applies to corruption. Ukrainians tend to demand justice, but, in real action, they do not always adhere to this principle.
  • After the victory in the Russian-Ukrainian war exists the risk of the state’s dominance in all areas of public life.

Education and communication. How to make a social contract understandable to citizens

  • The new social contract must be clear to citizens. The education and communication components are crucial in this context:
  • People should study the principles of responsible citizenship from an early age. You can use modern formats: cartoons, YouTube videos, and comics.
  • The priority principles of the social contract should be clear to the majority of citizens. Communication campaigns should explain these principles in simple language.

Denis Poltavets, Director of Program Development at the Aspen Institute Kyiv, and Andriy Kulakov, Program Coordinator of the Aspen Institute Kyiv Community, moderated the seminar.

The event was held within the framework of the Integrity and Governance project. The Integrity and Governance project is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for Democracy.