Creating a fairer society:
In Conversation with the Alternative Economists.
The pandemic has laid bare the systemic problems and horrific levels of inequality in our society leaving many of us hungry for radical change. But there’s good news. Local people are already working on ways to create a fairer society. This event brings together four of those people to discuss Community Wealth Building, an alternative and fairer approach to local economic development that is showing good outcomes in terms of reducing poverty, income inequality, enhancing local economic resilience and creating a low carbon and more democratic economy.
The New Economics Foundation found that only 6% of the UK population wanted to return to the pre-pandemic economy with 94% wanting to build back, “stronger, greener and fairer”. This is hardly surprising when as the pandemic hit it quickly became apparent that, “essential workers” were those who were referred to as “low-skilled workers” pre-pandemic, with low wages to match. Levels of inequality had been growing for years with the appearance of food banks providing visible evidence that the economy was not working. The economy is simply a system created by people and we can all play a role in creating a better one that works for everyone.
Community Wealth Building offers us an alternative. It is a growing movement with many communities and local authorities in Britain such as Preston, Islington, Wigan and North Ayrshire applying the approach as a means to reduce poverty and create a fairer society. The Scottish and Welsh Governments are looking at the approach and in 2020 our Minister for Communities committed to embedding the approach into departmental spending priorities and investment. It is a very doable and common sense approach to economic development that is aimed at giving people more control and relocalising wealth.
This conversation will explain the approach while exploring the Community Wealth Building work that is currently taking place in the form of Co-operative Development, a campaign for a Mutual Bank and grassroots community participation. It will also be an opportunity to explore how we can all drive this approach to create an economy that can weather shocks and future proof us against other crises, including the climate crisis.
Find out more: neweconomics.org