Let’s talk about viable economics!

Join Steady State Manchester  for a vote at our AGM on 17th February!

If more interested people feel comfortable talking about viable economics, will more people and organisations, big and small,  at least consider viable economic ideas when making decisions?

Is there a better way to get comfortable with ideas than to talk about them? With this in mind on 20th January we launched the first of our cafe conversations; cafe style to encourage people to share what matters to them; in groups of 4-5 because many people find it easier to speak in groups that size.


Twenty-three people turned up to talk about Possibilities and limits for having a local economy. A localised economy is one where as many goods and services are produced locally and as much money stays local as possible.



Five key points emerged from two rounds of wide ranging cafe conversations, hosted by supporters Erik Bichard, Karel Williams and Eve Holt.

A vision is needed which reflects our values

Localising the economy will need wide ranging support – so we need to encourage Engagement, Participation and OWNERSHIP via a hook (something which attracts people).

We need a greater understanding of what it means to shift from public to common control

Democracy is best practised at the scale of belonging and solidarity but…(Decisions on) Assets and resource need representative democracy on a regional scale

We need to hold local practical projects and experiences together with wider political theory, learning and strategy.

The cafe community had several suggestions of what should happen with the learning from the conversations.

·         Steady State Manchester should link more with local projects

·         The event should be written up and shared

·         Compare what is going on in Manchester with other areas eg Liverpool and Belfast

·         Use the learning as a basis for developing an alternative economy manifesto, charter or strategy for the region and contribute the ideas to the Peoples Plan for Manchester.

As well as writing up and sharing the event in this blog, Steady State Manchester will establish a small group to use the learning as a basis for developing an alternative economy manifesto, charter or strategy for the region and offer it as a contribution to the People’s Plan for Manchester and invite event participants to get involved in this.

Participants were enthusiastic about the event and gave excellent suggestions for improvement which will be taken on board. A second cafe conversation will take place on 17th February, where participants will help design A viable non-monetary exchange system for Greater Manchester , an exciting project being developed by a range of people and organisations in Manchester . Book now

Also of interest:

Conference on Public Banking – banking in the public interest

Sat Feb 20th 2016 Friends Meeting House, Manchester, M2 5NS – see our calendar page.



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2 Responses to Let’s talk about viable economics!

  1. John Rogers says:

    Great to see this progessing.

    I was curious to understand for myself what ‘viable’ economics might mean, if I had never heard the term. So I looked up the word in the etymological dictionary and got this:

    1828, from French viable “capable of life” (1530s), from vie “life” (from Latin vita “life;” see vital) + -able. Originally of newborn infants; generalized sense is first recorded 1848. Related: Viably.

    So a viable economy is literally ‘capable of life’.

    Then I got thinking about the verb ‘to vie’ as in ‘vie for supremacy’ and got this:

    1560s, “to bet, make a bet,” (literally “make a vie, the noun attested from 1530s in cards), especially in card-playing, “to wager the value of one’s hand against an opponent’s,” shortened form of Middle English envie “make a challenge,” from Old French envier “compete (against), provoke; invite, summon, subpoena;” in gambling, “put down a stake, up the bet;” from Latin invitare “to invite,” also “to summon, challenge” (see invitation). Sense of “to contend (with) in rivalry” in English is from 1560s; that of “to contend, compete, strive for superiority” is from c. 1600.

    So, a little food for thought in thinking about how to communicate this stuff to a wide audience. You definitely need some good videos. The Positive Money people, for instance, are very good in communicating their message through that medium.

    All the best with it!

  2. judith515 says:

    Thanks John

    I was fascinated to get your comment, as I had a conversation early today about how much we should say in this blog about what viable economics is and we decided to make it a link to our leaflet for those interested. Your comment illustrates that it is hard to explain briefly!

    Films are an excellent idea, I am not sure we have the resources to produce anything of sufficient quality right now, but perhaps in the future.

    We are currently exploring conversations as we hope interested people will both understand more about what viable economics is and also develop confidence through practice to be able to share what they know with others. It also gives everyone who comes the opportunity to inform the understanding; we hope we are co-creating our understanding and way of communicating about it. We would love you to join us.

    One of the participants of last Wednesday’s conversations is ‘thinking of ways of encouraging introverts that might not come but have ideas to contribute …. using digital tools’

    I wonder if there are many ways to share all this and perhaps different people prefer different methods? It is a question we are very interested in, so thankyou for stimulating thinking on this

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