Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Brexit: and taking back control

In the autumn, the NEF looked at how we can 'take control':
Futures Forum: 'Let's really take control' >>> The New Economics Foundation launches campaign
Building an economy where people really take control | New Economics Foundation

Even though the ideas and proposals are still highly relevant, things have 'moved on' since then, perhaps:
Ed M and Burnham set to tell Remain voters to “take control” at summit today | LabourList

But looking at the current set of notions, just coming out these last few days, maybe

From the London School of Economics last week:

To really ‘take back control’, democracies must reclaim power over the production of money

Democracy has failed to protect society from the predatory behaviour of global financial markets, writes Ann Pettifor. Drawing on her new book, she explains why the monetary system has made society vulnerable, and how it needs to be transformed.

Ten years after the catastrophic failure of both the global banking system and the global economy, economic disorder is once again threatening a new dark age. Western democracy has failed to protect society from the predatory behaviour of global financial markets – mostly rent-seekers; and from the ideology and impacts of market fundamentalism. In the absence of organised labour unions, and with political parties hollowed out, compromised, and even corrupted by financialisation, those who largely live by hand and brain, and not from rent, have taken measures to protect themselves. And those measures are not always pretty.

High levels of unemployment or under-employment; falling incomes; housing crises and obscene levels of inequality have led, predictably, to the rise of counter-movements in all the leading economies, as foreseen by Karl Polanyi in the 1940s, in his book: The Great Transformation. These counter-movements threaten to further undermine an already enfeebled Western democracy. At the same time, the inability of democracy and our financial system to respond to the threat of climate change, imperils the very future of the ecosystem and therefore of humanity. Our world is dangerously disordered.

It is my view that current economic disorder is largely caused by the invisibility, the lack of transparency, and the intangibility of the international financial system – the cause of recurring global economic failure. The fact that the system cannot be seen or understood, that it is opaque to society, means that it cannot be changed or transformed by society. Widespread ignorance of the workings of the great public good that is our monetary system has made society vulnerable. Ignorance enables those financial interests that have wrested control of the system away from democracies, to continue to undermine the security of society.

If democracies are to once again subordinate the finance sector to the role of servant to the real economy, it is vital that the public gains greater understanding of the monetary system – which I believe to be a great public good. That is the ambition of my modest book, The Production of Money.

To really ‘take back control’, democracies must reclaim power over the production of money | British Politics and Policy at LSE

Yesterday, the Jacobin made similar proposals:
Ten Proposals to Beat the European Union | Jacobin

Or, as a comment in the Guardian said last week:

The brexit debate is stale now and we need to get to the fundamentals which is glabalised, financialised capitalism.
My generation fought for equality and security. But that spirit seems lost now | Franklin Medhurst | Opinion | The Guardian

This is what the Devon New Economy group is all about:
Futures Forum: "Doing it Ourselves" >>> Forum for a New Local Economy >>> meeting Torbay 4th March

And this is what they got up to last April:

Devon New Economy Gathering Morning Workshops

Following themes from our keynote address, the workshops explored the implications of a New Economy in several directions.

Positive Money: Green Money – Andrew Shadrake

Andrew’s workshop explored how the system of creating money as debt can be changed. Currently 80% of money is being created by private banks, resulting in increasing levels of debt until the next crash. Almost all remaining money is created without debt, through “quantitative easing”, which effectively passes most of it to the rich.

The new process would place all money creation under democratic control. Some would be credit, lent only for socially productive purposes, at no, or very low, interest. The rest would be created without a corresponding debt, for spending only on productive activity which addressed climate change, such as insulating solid wall houses, or substituting coaches for cars on the motorway network.

This would be a green version of quantitative easing. The result would be to reduce public and unsustainable private debt, and green the economy in ways that would increase employment, secure a better future, and improve lives now.

Community Banking and Local Currency – Mark Burton and Hannah Partridge

Mark reported on current moves to make it easier to start regional banks in the UK, as well as progress in developing the Plough and Share Credit Union towards being a Community Bank, supporting people to save and offering loans to consumers and small businesses at reasonable interest rates.

Hannah showed how rising use of the Exeter Pound and other currencies can improve the ability of local independent businesses to survive and prosper. Together these innovations could mean better options for financing small local enterprises and more a more loyal customer base, bringing a more integrated and resilient local economy.

Support for Local and Social Enterprise – Jay Tompt

Jay Tompt shared the experience of the Totnes REconomy Project and its ‘community supported entrepreneurism’ approach to driving local and regional economic change. The underlying assumption is that to create a new economics, we must create the conditions for new economic actors and relationships to emerge.

The two main projects are: the REconomy Centre, a self managed, ‘pay what you can’ incubator and co-working space; and the Local Entrepreneur Forum, which brings together prospective entrepreneurs, investors, experts, and supporters of all kinds, for a day of relationship building, learning, support, and investment. This include a pitching sessions, where vetted local enterprisers pitch to the audience, who all become the Community of Dragons, investors of resources of all kinds, from finance to expertise, to home-cooked meals. A third project to create a local financial network is currently under development.

Combined, these low-cost projects are supporting close to a hundred local enterprises, directly or indirectly, and mobilising dozens more investors, mentors, experts in service of a more regenerative, inclusive and resilient economy. The key outcomes after 5 years are an emerging entrepreneurial culture and new enterprise ecosystem.

https://reconomycentre.org/home/lef/ or https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gu_ZpHRUY7

Food – Local and Affordable? – The work of Devon Food Network – Martyn Goss

This workshop addressed the question How do we develop more participatory, resilient and regenerative food systems for our communities? It brought together a great variety of initiatives and reflected a growing connection, through food networks, of growers, retailers, people concerned with health and well-being, therapeutic relationship with the land, and the interests of consumers particularly those on low incomes.

A good food system needs to reflect all these interests and those of future generations. Mention was made of The Land magazine as a resource, and of many positive models emerging in the region which combine several of these objectives.

Contact: martyn.goss@exeter.anglican.org www.exeterfoodnetwork.org.uk 

The Debt Monster – Kevin Cotter of Love Local Food

Children/Young people workshop.The Debt monsters were created as shadow puppets to enact a performance scripted by the participants. This took place at the end of the morning workshop. The performance was impressive and we await a sequel!

Kevin can be contacted at education@lovelocalfood.org.uk

Transition Exeter » DEVON NEW ECOMONY

See also:
Futures Forum: An Exeter Pound: What came first: money or debt? ......... David Graeber's "Debt: The First 5000 Years"

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