Presentation on theme: "An economic system in which our testimonies can flourish BYM 2012."— Presentation transcript:
An economic system in which our testimonies can flourish BYM 2012
What’s gone wrong? Inequality has increased both globally and in UK since about 1975 – (equality & community) We’re promoting economic growth, which doesn’t make people feel any happier – (simplicity) We’re running out of planet – no respect for limited natural resources – (sustainability) Our system encourages selfish values and anxiety about image and success – (truth, equality) Our system encourages war over resources (which may now be diminishing because of climate change and depletion) – (peace)
What’s the root of the problem? What needs to change for an economy in which the testimonies can flourish? 1. Market failure 2. Bad Values – Consumerism, economic growth, belief markets will sort everything out etc. 3. Globalization 4. Money as debt 5. Patterns of ownership
1.Market failure Sometimes prices don’t reflect the social or environmental costs and benefits – so state should use tax system to correct. (tax carbon, pollution, not jobs) Some goods not valued on the market at all – so we need more markets (eg carbon market) Some goods are public or collective – state should see they are provided (like defence, forests, more equality) Some goods are basic to life and everyone has a right to have them: health care, education, legal aid, ?home heating? Rationing by need is fairer than ability to pay Need to reduce inequality and increase revenue by limiting tax avoidance
And another thing: the market is not quick at dealing with large changes, such as shift to wartime economy or to an earth-sustaining one. Diag on left from New Scientist, up to 2000, on right, future prognosis using adapted “Limits to Growth” methodology
2. Values How far do we value relationships as well as things in our economic institutions and practices? Is greed an acceptable motivation? Perhaps it is bolstered by insecurity and fosters lies? Relative importance of community vs. individualism? Is this really a contradiction? Responsibility vs freedom (and for companies?) Being a consumer or a citizen? Rediscovering connectedness with each other, with nature, and our true needs. (Green economics; Ecopsychology, Faith perspectives) Enshrining this in law (eg ecocide)
Values The work has to be personal, cultural and spiritual
3. Globalization Is it an inevitable economic process, what corporations and nations must do to continue growing? (capital seeks continued accumulation?) Or even to survive Is it a political agenda of neoliberalism? Or is it a value system, an ideology, against which we can promote localization?
Promoting localization Again, cultivating an ethic – local identity, culture, loyalty. Place matters, quality. Procurement by councils and businesses (inc schools) Cultivating relationships between local producers and consumers (eg farmers markets) Creating local enterprises, (inc co-ops, social enterprises) strengthening local resilience Building alliances with local business Local currencies and preference schemes
4. Money Money created as debt (as ours mostly is) means everyone is paying interest. Ie giving more to those that already have Businesses HAVE to grow to repay interest. Countries often have to asset strip environmental resources to repay loans. Solution: Democratically controlled money issued as credit. (eg by State, or local govt).
5. Concentrated ownership Inequality breeds inequality in our system. Redistribution through the tax system isn’t enough. The distribution of property – the means to produce a living - has to change. In poor countries and communities, land ownership is crucial. Many would-be UK farmers are landless too
Today, as well as land, we need democratic/community control of other means of production such as large productive enterprises. This means Changing governance of joint stock companies so they are more responsive to environmental & social goals (triple bottom line). Eg increasing representation of employees and communities on board; transferring shares gradually to workforce; where govt owns shares, rep on board(eg RBS) Increasing share of social enterprises (benefits to community) or co-ops (benefits to employees or members) – both run democratically
The money/private land ownership system began to emerge in biblical times, with moneylenders, and large landowners using wage labour The Bible documents resistance strategies: Prophetic critique Legal regulation – debt relief etc Resistance to totalitarian empires – direct action Living alternatively in small groups – leaven Love/solidarity and alternative to (imperial Roman) law and greed
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 the planet, 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 Ownership: Small businesses and democratic enterprises (Co-ops and social enterprise). JS companies not governed by shareholders only. Money creation by democratic government Redistribution - tax system and eg Land Value Tax