Visions of a new economy

By Chris W on October 27, 2016

QPSW launched its New Economy Project in late 2015 to explore how a Quakerly economic system could work in practice, using a series of seven booklets. With the first two booklets receiving lots of positive feedback from Friends, Cait Crosse, New Economy Project Manager, outlines what we have to look forward to in the next five booklets.

The New Economy Project is concerned with a vision – a vision of how our economic system could be radically transformed so that it “enhances human and non-human life”. It builds on the Principles for a new economy document, produced in 2015 with the input of Friends from across the country.

To explore how this visionary new economy could work in practice, we’re producing seven booklets this year, each of which discusses different aspects of the economy. The first two booklets are already available (online at www. quaker.org.uk/new-economy or by emailing caitc@quaker.org.uk for paper copies) and five more are on their way.

Booklet 1: What’s the economy for?

We all know the economy is important, but why? What’s it supposed to do?

This booklet questions the essential aims of our economic policy. It suggests that the economy should serve society, not the other way round. With this in mind, the booklet asks how we might best measure economic success in the new economy. Currently, gross domestic product growth is the aim of much economic policy, but what other measurements could we use to assess how well our economy is doing?

Booklet 2: Good work in the new economy

Work can be about much more than earning a living, but many people in our current system are overworked, underpaid or stuck on insecure zero-hour contracts. Many Quakers would like to see a world in which everyone has access to dignified, meaningful employment. This booklet discusses some ideas for economic policy, employment practices and business structures that could make this a reality.

Booklet 3: Energy in the new economy

In the face of climate change and global inequality, we need an energy system that upholds the values of equality, democracy, sustainability and peace. This booklet will discuss what such a system might look like. How can we keep the lights on without destroying the planet? How can we make fuel poverty a thing of the past? How can we take back control from the big fossil fuel extractors and suppliers that have such undue influence over our government and our energy system?

Booklet 4: Governance and the use of natural resources

Humans, and human economies, are dependent on the natural world. Many Friends believe, in principle, that all people should have an equal right to access and make use of the planet’s land, soil, water, air and the biosphere’s capacity to process greenhouse gases. But this is quite a leap from our current system of ownership and resource exploitation. Booklet 5 explores how alternative models of governance and ownership might work.

Booklet 5: Money, banking and the financial sector

The 2008 financial crash revealed that our money and banking system are in need of urgent reform. Yet banks, money and finance are still shrouded in mystery and perplexing jargon. This booklet will offer a plain-speech discussion of how money works, how we can bring it back into public control and what a Quaker banking system might look like.

Booklet 6: Markets in the new economy

We all want our economy to provide us with the goods and services we need. But what’s the best way to organise this provision? Our current economy mixes market provision (for food, clothing) with public services (for rubbish collection, the police force), but is moving towards ever greater privatisation and outsourcing. In booklet 4, we’ll explore the role of markets, non-market sectors and government regulation. We’ll ask what mix of provision will help create a society that fits with Quaker testimony.

Booklet 7: Being the change

By the end of the series, we hope readers will feel clearer about alternatives to our economic system and what kind of changes they’d like to see. But how do we make this happen? This booklet will explore the practical steps we can take to build the new economy, as individuals and with others who share our values and our vision. System change seems daunting, but there is a range of tangible differences we can all make to live out our witness in the world and transform the economy in the process.

 

 

 

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