Join our next cafe conversation ‘Let’s talk about the future of work and income’ on Monday 21st March at Cross St Chapel from 6.30-8.30pm to learn more about and shape a viable economy in Greater Manchester. Book here
Read about our AGM and second successful cafe conversation focusing on a project involving several organisations to get a viable non-monetary exchange project off the ground. Rashid Mahr, one of the hosts and speakers said;
‘The event worked really well, it was relaxed and enjoyable. The group there were well informed and engaged in these ideas, but the information shared will help make the steps we take meaningful for those who haven’t heard about these ideas yet. It was a great faith and confidence booster that the idea was right. It was also nice that people recommended getting the idea, values and direction right. We will I think have to forge forward when the opportunities open, but it’s nice to know we don’t have rush it because of pressure from the community.’
Increasing numbers of people including migrants, traditional working class and university graduates are living a precarious existence in insecure jobs and/ or on zero hour contracts. At the same time, formerly affluent middle and working class occupations have been contracting. A number of factors are responsible including both technological changes and the strategies of big business to cut costs through outsourcing and restructuring.
Could it be possible that employed work will no longer be able to sustain the majority of people in the future? Maybe our collective failure to state this problem and address it is because we (both society and as individuals) put a high value on both being independent and finding purpose through paid work?
What stories do we tell ourselves and our children about work and income? When we or others can’t get decent jobs, do we experience this as an individual problem or something we share with others? And when we talk about work, what exactly are we talking about? Paid work? Work in the home and our communities?
Are the solutions a living wage and a shorter working week ? Do we need a citizens’ or universal basic income and is it viable? And might it help to (re)value work in the home and with families and community work?
Can we consider these possibilities rationally on their merits, or is there too much of our emotional investment in the work-income model? Maybe it is easier to talk about sex and death than what is happening to the future of work and income? What would it take to deal with these issues as communities and movements?
So many questions…..Come and share your experiences, thoughts and visions, and other questions on these issues, whatever your work role(s) (whatever this maybe jobseeker’, paid worker, parent, retired and/or activist, student, homemaker) with others in informal, stimulating and challenging conversations.
Please tell others about this and bring them along, See you there, book here
Twenty-one people launched Steady State Manchester’s AGM and participated in a second successful cafe conversation focusing on a project involving several organisations to get a viable non-monetary exchange project off the ground.
The idea of the viable non-monetary exchange project is for individuals, community groups, businesses and others to exchange skills and resources. It is and will continue to learn from and involve organisations that are already doing this such as timebanks, freecycle groups and credit unions. It will work through a social platform (for those who are ‘techy’) and be supported by face to face/ telephone contact to involve those people who are more comfortable away from screens!
Four participants in the non- monetary exchange project gave a brief introduction. Mark Burton from Steady State Manchester explained that ‘money gushes out of the local economy and the reason Steady State Manchester is interested in how we keep it in Manchester and ensure that fewer abundant resources are wasted.’
Salford City councillor, Kate Lewis believes that it is a human right to feel valued and that the project can do that. She gave a heart-warming example of a agoraphobic man who can use his skills to make a valued contribution from his home. She pointed out that while councils talk about ‘resilient’ communities meaning one where people rely less on services, they do not have a mechanism to change the culture from one which is service orientated to one of mutual exchange – she thinks this is a project which can make that happen.
Claire Tomkinson from Macc has developed a timebanking scheme with a Housing Association reminded us that ‘we have what we need if use what we have’
Rashid Mhar who is part of the technical team stressed the need for the project to both be pragmatic and appealing. In order for it to be appealing he stressed the need for it to be a simple idea and grow into something everyday and ordinary. He pointed out that for large numbers of people this means being available on your smartphone and in this way we can normalise a viable economic initiative. The idea of calling it Simple Exchange (Socially Inclusive [Greater] Manchester Platform for Everything) emerged from his contribution. The project group are now consulting on this possible name; let us know what you think of it and your comments will be fedback to them
The introductions were followed by small group conversations – that posed some searching questions and revealed some interesting responses.
Some people hoped everyone might use it either as individuals, community groups, businesses and the public sector. Others that it might appeal more to people who are retired, unemployed, self-employed, in the 80% least wealthy or freelancers. It might appeal to people who want to make friends/meet new people, people who want to get things done or are curious about trying new things
Participants thought the following changes may occur as a result of being involved:
- Realise your value and make new friends
- Enable people to do things – jobs get done in homes, neighbourhoods, towns
- Feel valued, more involved and better connected
- Increased access to resources (eg workclubs gain last season’s suits which can’t be sold and off peak tram tickets)
- More resilient and stronger communities
- Lives and places are changed
Participants thoughts about what would excite others about living well and viably included:
- “ Offer choice and a wealth of opportunity”
- “Newness, simplicity and accessibility”
- “It would be like Nectar points”
- “Based on assets – using what is out there already”
- “A user friendly app that values everyone and everything”
The partnership group spearheading this project were delighted with the learning from the cafe conversations. It will feed into the consultation they are currently doing and we will keep the conversation going as things evolve.