Policies for the City Region – serialised: Part 1, setting the scene

Here we begin a serialisation of out report, Policies for the City Region.  This installment explains what we are trying to do, and the essentials of our Viable Economy approach.  It also gives a preview of what will follow.  But if you can’t wait: download it here. You can also see out policies page HERE and our publications page HERE.

Policies for the City Region

This is a contribution from Steady State Manchester to the debate about policies for the city region.

We are a group working out how best to respond here to

  • environmental challenges including climate change, resource depletion and damage to the environment
  • deep-seated social problems including poverty, social deprivation and fragmentation
  • economic problems including debt, unemployment, austerity and instability

These issues need to be tackled nationally and globally as well here in our region where we can “take back control” and devise our own solutions.

It’s a huge task and we don’t have all the answers. We’ve borrowed and built on ideas from Manchester and all over the world. We do know that we can’t carry on with business as usual. Economic growth, as conventionally understood, is part of the problem, not part of the solution. The Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) plans contain some good ideas but will not create the fundamental shifts we need to reduce our massive carbon footprint. Nor will they put local people in control and reduce inequalities.

These practical proposals for Greater Manchester are relevant to the new GM Mayor and the local authorities but perhaps more so to everyone who lives or works in Greater Manchester. They cover money, work, enterprise, housing, caring for each other, democracy, inequalities and the strengths of communities as well as energy and the environment. We set out specific policy proposals here, and also refer to other documents we have produced setting out detailed policies, or in some cases those of other organisations. In every case we explain our thinking.


A Viable Greater Manchester

The Policies: Treading lightly for shared prosperity

1. An energy transition: less energy, clean energy.

2 A sustainable and affordable food supply and distribution network

3 Divest from fossil fuels.

4. Anchor institutions

5. Economic localisation

6 Finance

7 National redistribution

8 Jobs and income

9 Community

A Viable Greater Manchester

We base our approach on our framework, The Viable Economy1, which identifies an alternative set of values and principles for a seamless economic, social, political, cultural and ecological framework.

Key features of the Viable Economy:

Economically viable

  1. An economy that is resilient in the face of bubbles, crashes, supply chain interruptions and the whim of National governments.

  2. More money staying local and more democratic and local control over savings and investment.

  3. An economy that delivers (and measures) what we need rather than growth for growth’s sake.

  4. A balanced economy without the hyper-development of some sectors (e.g. financial speculation, armaments).

  5. 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).

  6. Where needed investment comes from within rather than from exploitation of other peoples or as profit-seeking from external investors.

Socially viable

  1. Control over the economy rather than the economy controlling us.

  2. An economy that relies on and builds equality, solidarity and cooperation among people, here and elsewhere.

  3. An economy that rather than increasing inequality, progressively becomes more equitable.

  4. Less exploitation of the majority world while keeping open channels for communication and learning globally.

  5. An economy founded on stewardship of human and social capital, that does not waste people’s energies and talents, that includes everyone.

  6. With an increased space for non-commercial transactions: the collaborative or solidarity economy.

Ecologically viable

  1. Radically reducing both the exploitation of finite resources and the emission of pollutants, including greenhouse gases: a one-planet economy.

  2. Based on production and consumption for need: a frugal abundance.

  3. More security for us all because the environment is protected from further destruction.

  4. Resilient to climatic and other ecological shocks.

  5. An economy that practices stewardship of the natural world that we depend on.

The Policies: Treading lightly for shared prosperity

This diagram gives a snapshot of

  • our key themes (section titles outside the circle in bold) and
  • how we want to pursue them (inside the circle).


…..to be continued, or if you want it now, download here:  https://steadystatemanchester.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/policies-for-the-city-region-the-longer-version-v3-final.pdf

You can also see out policies page HERE and our publications page HERE.

1 Steady State Manchester (2014) The Viable Economy. https://steadystatemanchester.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/the-viable-economy-master-document-v4-final.pdf

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