By gillwestcott on May 28, 2012
The special interest group on an alternative economy was arranged by the ‘Economics, Sustainability and Peace’ committee of QPSW.
It had felt important to imagine what an alternative economy might look like, and what policies and actions would contribute to its arrival.
I suggested that a ‘good economy’ might well be called a democratic economy:
• Politics needs to control economy not vice versa . (Change to party funding; and what about the media?)
• Well-being, good livelihoods and safeguarding life on earth should be goals of economic policy, not GDP
• Markets – regulated & controlled to bring private advantage and social good nearer together
• Defence of the public realm and role of state: Basic needs and public goods allocated by collective decision, ie. through politics, eg health services, police, education, housing, legal aid, museums & national treasures, integrated transport system, ?home heating.
• Ownership: Small businesses and democratic enterprises (Co-ops and social enterprise). JS companies not governed by shareholders only, but with representatives of workers and public on their boards.
• Money creation by democratic government as dictated by independent committee
• Redistribution – tax system and eg Land Value Tax
I hope to include fuller notes on what policies would bring this about in a later post. In the meanwhile, here are some ways that we can work as individuals and groups to promote these kind of changes, from today:
1. Use mutual, co-operative, small local green businesses and social enterprises for as many of our purchases/money transactions as possible.
2. Join Move Your Money movement and move your account to a co-operative or mutual financial institution (such as Co-op Bank, Triodos, Nationwide, Ecology Building Society and many other mutual building societies).
3. Support Positive Money movement. Watch their short videos for clear information.
4. Show “Money as Debt” to a group and get someone to lead a discussion. (The Economics Sustainability and Peace committee can provide one if you don’t have a handy person locally).
5. Join Green Party (as the only political party that has shown any recognition that perpetual growth is not possible); or
6. Campaign within a party of which you are already a member for this recognition.
7. Campaign for an economy that doesn’t promote GDP. Eg Start a citizens’ petition to get a debate in parliament on a steady-state or dynamic equilibrium economy.
8. Write or talk to your MP about the need to promote Well-being, green jobs, sustainability, not GDP, (a dynamic equilibrium economy).
9. Support New Economics Foundation with specific funds for Great Transition research.
10. Join CASSE (Centre for the Study of the Steady State Economy), Decroissance.
11. Join a Credit Union.
12. Find local allies to discuss these ideas and perhaps develop an action or project. For example, join local Transition Town movement – some have economics groups, some have a local currency. In any case supporting local resilience helps to counterbalance globalization, whether growing own food, reducing fossil fuel energy requirements…
13. Join a local currency scheme (LETS or Time Bank).
14. Join Tax Justice Network.
15. Buy Fairtrade, or direct from producer, wherever possible.
As Groups, Meetings and Communities we can:
1. Publicize and promote education about all the above
2. Develop local resilience – local food, energy generation, sustainable transport, group skills, consensus building etc
3. Set up social enterprises and co-ops to carry out local functions
4. Involve local elected representatives in discussions, debates, speaker meetings etc. Talk to your local councillor about what is important to you. Listen to them too – treat them like a person. Find out how it all works. Stand as a councillor – you can change the agenda even without winning, though of course this helps.
5. Councils, schools and health authorities could favour procuring local produce, or buying from social enterprises.
[moderator: The powerpoint files from the special interest meeting are now avaliable below]: