Building a picture of well-being in a viable economy




Our next cafe conversation will be on Monday 23rd May, at Cross Street Chapel, Manchester M2 1NL.  


Book now


When it comes to happiness, social progress or well-being indexes, we are not in the top half dozen countries. However we are in the top half dozen richest countries in the world and continue growing the economy. Could we do better in a viable economy?

What can we learn from the majority world? For example, in many parts of Africa, Ubuntu underpins thinking, an underlying collective philosophy that  ‘I am because we are’. What can we learn from Latin American Buen Vivir, a culture of life which strives for solidarity and harmony between humans and nature.

Resources on our website make excellent background reading and watching including this recent short paper by Kothari, Demaria and Acosta on buen vivir, ubuntu and ecological swaraj:

See you there! Book now!

April’s cafe conversation voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU and to campaign for the lesser of two ills

Are you finding it hard to get excited by the EU Referendum? You are not alone.

The campaign lacks many features that made the Scottish Referendum exciting and involved so many people (turnout 87%). In the EU Referendum there is little vision and hope on either side. With big imperfections within the EU and going it alone, it would be nice to think the impact might be irrelevant.  But can we ignore growing nationalism here and elsewhere and threats to the environmental and human rights which do get some attention from the EU?  Is it important to get out and argue for the lesser of two ills?

Nearly everyone at our cafe conversation on 19th April will vote to remain in. However, reasons given to stay included:

  • The EU is better for social justice, climate change, environment; it does more to regulate big business and hence helps to protect the population and the planet
  • Supranational challenges such as climate change require the EU
  • The economy is more likely to grow if we are in the EU (and we see this as a problem on a finite planet but that does not mean that exit would lead to a viable economy
  • We discussed how we can influence and encourage discussion and thought.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           We could:
  • Talk to people wherever we can e.g. letters to the Press, events, 1:1, social media.
  • Focus on understanding issues that concern people. Ask them what their vision is and examine specifics
  • Share how you see the positive impact of EU membership e.g. on labour laws and the environment
  • Use good practice examples from Europe to solve the UK’s problems e.g. housing, planning, transport, energy
  • Pick up on the terms of the debate to offer a critique e.g. GDP, growth, productivity, competition
  • Keep contextualising the issues e.g. migration – fundamental causes (oil, war, climate, arms trade) See the Viable Economy pps 28-30
  • Stress that remaining in may be more protective long term

Useful resources

We shared helpful resources; can you add anything to the list?

UNITE briefing on labour laws:—23-june-2016/

RSPB briefing/ questions on environment 0

Friends of the Earth EU Referendum page:

Another Europe is Possible:

Democracy in Europe (Diem25):

Environmentalists for Europe:

Environmentalists for Europe:

This detailed and helpful briefing was made in response to comments in a (very large) Facebook group in Wales.

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