Presentation on theme: "Three per cent growth for ever is running into serious constraints. There are environmental constraints, market constraints, profitability constraints,"— Presentation transcript:
Three per cent growth for ever is running into serious constraints. There are environmental constraints, market constraints, profitability constraints, spatial constraints. David Harvey. Practical steps to a Manchester where people thrive without harming the planet.
Reality check Real ‘wealth of nations’: Physical space Atmospheric balances UV filtering Purification of air Potable water Regulation of water cycle Water storage Photosynthesis Fertile soil Vegetative resources Pollination Mineral resources Waste decomposition Nutrient recycling Stable climate Checks & balances against extremes Human labour
Growth of the economy brings problems It doesn't bring well-being beyond a certain level. Reliance on GDP growth as the key measure of economic well- being is therefore misleading. Growth means winners and losers – inequality increases. With growth comes increased material throughputs – 'resources' are used faster and 'sinks' are overwhelmed. There is no evidence so far that a growing economy can be de- materialised enough to offset this increase in material throughputs: sustainable growth is a myth.
Stockport’s Economic Development Strategy 2012-17 For Stockport to: “..build on its position as a growth economy in Greater Manchester, connecting its residents and businesses to more opportunities, and providing an ideal environment to start, grow and locate a business.” Hmmm, we have a problem!
Manchester Monitor “...we enter 2013 with some caution, recognising that this is likely to be another challenging year and a real focus is needed on bringing unemployment down. The need to ensure GM benefits from initiatives such as Airport City, which will bring long-term sustainable economic growth, will be more important than ever.” Hmmm, we have a problem!
Manchester Monitor 2.74% predicted GVA growth for Greater Manchester over next 10 years (now £47Bn, growing to £61.58Bn). Hmmm, we have a problem!
Leaving the recession Plan A, Fiscal Austerity, means more cuts, punishment of the poor, looting of the commons and disregard for the environment. Plan B, Phantom Abundance, means back-to-how-it-was before the banking crash, or the cuts – back to an inherently unstable and unsustainable model.
Plan C, Ecological Prosperity means a planned approach to a society where we can all live a good life, satisfied with enough, without seeking endless growth and accumulation, respecting the planetary limits: Steady State. Any recovery will need to be a Steady State recovery that leaves nobody behind, but that knows what ‘enough’ means. Taking seriously both the mitigation of climate change (through radically decreasing emissions) and adapting to the climate change that is already gathering, will help this recovery to rebalance the economy.
A Steady State Economy is different from a failed growth economy Managed de-growth is not the same as economic collapse. It implies a planned approach with strong and effective policies.
Steady Local State Much of the work on the Steady State Economy deals with rather abstract ideas at the national and international levels. But it is possible to identify concretely what a Steady State approach would mean more locally. And taking these steps locally can influence policies elsewhere.
What does Steady State mean at a municipal or regional level? Dealing with inequality – more equality. Dealing with globalisation – more localised production (this means some sectors of the economy will grow while overall it shrinks and stabilises). Dealing with money, debt and investments – safe local savings and investments that also provide fair credit. Dealing with the measurement problem – better measures of social, ecological and economic well-being. Dealing with unnecessary and destructive consumption – restoring community and lived culture.
What does Steady State mean at a municipal or regional level? 2 The replacement economy. Reducing consumption and strengthening community Steady State as a Mainstream Decision Aid. Influencing our context by national and international lobbying and campaigning.
Recommendations Equality Publish data on wage differentials in the workforces of local employers. Promote an initiative to combat the long hours culture in many of our employing organisations. A city sponsored initiative on salary deflation at the higher echelons. More workers for the same hours: a 10 out 12 in policy. Re-localisation Investigate and shorten the supply chains for our foodstuffs and other necessities of life. Reduce Manchester’s dependence on Imported Food. Establish food gardens on public land. Increase our Energy Self-Sufficiency, based on renewables – and power down. Repair workshops / sharing schemes for domestic and business ‘durables’. Consider options for local re-industrialisation. Measurement ‘Dashboard of the city’s social, economic and ecological health’ - publish it widely. Attain the widest possible, and growing public understanding and participation in strategies to secure more of this ‘genuine prosperity.
Recommendations 2 Debt, money, savings and investment Promote alternatives to financialised credit. Clean up our investments. Establish a local currency. Alternative savings vehicles for sustainable developments, services and amenities: Manchester Green Investment Bond (pump primed with sale of 20% of the city’s interest in the airport). Help people escape housing-related debt through sharing. Establish a Manchester fund for co-operative development. Replacement Economy Job creation incentives for SMEs/co-ops etc with green and social products / services. Facilitate the use of non-market capital to build the third sector. Get serious about climate change adaptation to create jobs. Consumption and culture Start a conversation in the city about how people view satisfaction with materialistic lifestyles. Reduce and counter the propaganda of advertising. Campaign for the re-taking of social urban space. Active promotion of sharing. Obtain accreditation as a ‘slow city’. Monitor and learn Map and log the benefits that occur, by sector, to build our understanding of how Steady State Manchester is working.
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