updated with summary of headings, 10 June, 2014
Steady State Manchester is working on its new publication: The Viable Economy. We are using this title to both give a positive message (rather than the negative, but necessary steady-state one) and to emphasise the need to align the economic, the social and the ecological. No economy can survive that is not viable in all three domains.
Work has started (see the outline structure below, under the response form) and we will be sharing our work as we go with associates and friends and seeking advice, as before from experts we respect.
We also want your thoughts as someone who reads this blog: what do you think we should emphasise? How might we best get the message across?
We’ll be building on our previous work, including In Place of Growth, since we’ve learned a lot in the two years we’ve been going. But maybe you can suggest some essential reading, links, and practical examples that we might otherwise miss. And of course we will acknowledge people’s contributions when we finally launch the Viable Economy.
So let us have it! – Thanks.
Provisional outline of The Viable Economy
Social malaise: the dissatisfaction of everyday life. Personal and collective ‘ill-being’: stress, pointlessness, speed, insecurity, lack of social solidarity. The corrosive troika: Privatization, marketization and financialization. A convivial alternative.
2) What is the Viable Economy? a summary of its characteristics
An economy that is resilient in the face of bubbles, crashes, supply chain interruptions and the whim of National governments.
More money staying local and more control over savings and investment.
An economy that delivers (and measures) what we need rather than growth for growth’s sake.
A balanced economy without the hyper-development of some sectors.
An economy that does not have to keep expanding, although where some sectors will grow,(e.g. renewable energy) and some must shrink (e.g. fossil fuels).
Where needed investment comes from within rather than from exploitation of other peoples or as profit-seeking from external investors.
Control over the economy rather than the economy controlling us.
An economy that relies on and builds equality, solidarity and cooperation among people, here and elsewhere.
An economy that rather than increasing inequality, progressively becomes more equitable.
Less exploitation of the majority world while keeping open channels for communication and learning globally.
An economy founded on stewardship of human and social capital, that does not waste people’s energies and talents, that includes everyone.
With an increased space for non-commercial transactions: the collaborative or solidarity economy.
Radically reducing both the exploitation of finite resources and the emission of pollutants, including greenhouse gases: a one-planet economy.
Based on production and consumption for need: a frugal abundance.
More security for us all because the environment is protected from further destruction.
Resilient to climactic and other ecological shocks.
An economy that practices stewardship of the natural world that we depend on.
3) About growth
Good and bad; clarity around need for selective growth Criteria for good selective growth – economic/social/ecological. Need to remain within available biocapacity – absolute limits to growth.
4) About resilience
Resilience in the unviable model. Economic, social and ecological resilience. Design principles of resilient systems.
5) About space
Localism and the bio-region – concept of strategic localism and principle of subsidiarity.
The use of space and an alternative vision of Manchester’s geography (including green spaces, productive spaces, living spaces and the connections between them – people flows)
6) About democracy and ownership
Reclaiming control over our economy. A politically and ecologically literate population. Democracy and community.
Ownership of businesses – a still mixed but more social and democratic economy.
7) About investment, money, credit and debt
The present system and its shortcomings – consequences as an unviable economy.
Sources of investment – Flighty FDI versus the endogenous model. Fiat money and its control.
Reclaiming control over money.
8) About distribution and equality
The importance of equality and strategies to improve it.
9) About work and income.
The nature of work in the unviable economy. Work/life balance.
Jobs/employment conditions. Creating decent jobs. Foundational economy. Skills, training and capacitation. Those who don’t and can’t work.
10) About environment.
Resource and environmental considerations (resources and sinks). Material flows. Carbon intensity. Energy efficiency and avoiding rebound. Community renewable energy. Reduction of damage and repair. Stewardship.
11) About Consumerism
Needs, wants, advertising.
11) About progress and its measurement
In this paper we have redefined progress: how would we know if we are moving in the right direction? Alternatives to GDP / GVA. Aligning economic, social and ecological measures.