Nearly forty people participated in a day workshop, Towards a Sustainable Economic System on Tuesday 23rd July in central Manchester facilitated by James Medway and Stephen Reid from the London based New Economics Foundation. The day was organised by an ad hoc group of people which included involvement of Steady State Manchester.
A wonderful atmosphere was created by the fabulous combination of people present. The ‘usual suspects were there’ alongside others. As well as having representation from the Church of England, a Quaker, and a range of campaigning organisations and the Green Party, I was particularly excited that a prospective Salford councillor came, alongside a member of Manchester Youth Council and someone from the University post-crash Economics Society. This is a group of economics students who are concerned about the focus on neoliberal economics in their curriculum. They are campaigning for a more relevant curriculum as well as teaching themselves what they feel they need to know.
Many good links were made. These included 3 people meeting from the same neighbourhood who would like to work together more. A participant from Manchester Peoples Assembly which is to be held on Saturday found a speaker for the day on green economics!
Participants spent most of the morning busting common myths perpetuated by mainstream political parties and papers about the economy. Steady State core group members were especially excited by a presentation which focussed on how proponents of neoliberal economics changed the values underpinning economics so they could introduce their economic thinking. This was presented in order that we can learn from their successful strategies and employ similar tactics in order to change the economic system to one that will work for justice and the planet. We are pleased to find we have already adopted several of the tactics and we will be working on adopting others!
As the title of this blog post points out, participants listened to and engaged with complex economic arguments. Many participants valued developing a better understanding of the failures of neoliberal economics and some pointers for changing the economy.
The final session of the days focussed on what participants intend to do with their learning and potential collaboration. Participants were passionate about the need to communicate these ideas effectively to others, novel ideas included learning to use comedy and satire.
Steady State Manchester has invited participants to use our calendar to inform others of what they are doing. Our speakers were well impressed with what we are doing in Manchester! We look forward to utilising our new knowledge together with stronger working relationships between all those present
Workshop content can be found at What is the problem? The 1% economy, Mythbusters, Securing Change, Where do we go from here? A new economic narrative. A fuller report will be available within a couple of weeks