The joy in enough: economics for planet and people
CEL has ambitious plans for our 2014 annual conference, and over the next year we would like you to be part of them.
The age of growth economics is over. If we try and carry on, our legacy to the next generation will be a ruined planet, inescapable debt and brutal inequality. There is an alternative.
CEL wants to equip Christians to become advocates of a new order – prosperity without growth. A steady state economy, in scale with creation, will not only restore ecosystems but repair humanity and honour the reign of God. Far from being ‘worse off’ we will discover the ‘joy in enough’, and lay to rest the myth that environmentalists are grim obsessives who can only say ‘no’.
And we need your help: here’s how you can join in:
- take part in one or more of the working groups listed below, to produce a Christian manifesto to be published alongside the conference
- help bring on board partner organisations with which you are in contact, in the Churches, in politics or in the environment and economics
- join the conference organising group.
If you can help in any of these ways, contact Tony (tony.emerson12 [at] btopenworld.com).
We need a whole new economics, not just a better financial system, and we want the churches to have courage to demand it. Some will say it can’t be done. We say it must be tried. For more detail see the prospectus below.
Joy in Enough (JiE) Working Groups
Working Group 1: The big transnational questions – especially: resource and emission caps, gaining international co-operation on these issues
Working Group 2: Financial and industrial policy questions – especially: fiscal reform, changing national economic goals and the way we measure progress, investments in jobs and infrastructure
Working Group 3: Equity and redistribution questions – especially: tackling systemic inequality, working time – redistributing employment hours and income
Working Group 4: Social and psychological questions – especially: strengthening social capital,
de-marketing, dismantling the culture of consumerism
Working Group 5: The imperatives in scripture and theology for this new kind of economics, and their implications for the Churches’ mission.
Looking forward to hearing from you
Paul Bodenham – Chair, CEL
Tony Emerson – conference organising team
The joy in enough – a prospectus
There is no sign of an end to our financial crises. People are asking fundamental questions: what is money for? what kind of economy will serve the common good, the earth, future generations, and our mental and spiritual health? What choices must we now make?
We are not the first generation to confront the power of mammon. Following in the footsteps of Jesus, Francis of Assisi is among those who made it their life to do so. His gospel life: open-handed, poor yet rich, a brother to all creatures. How much more we need such a prophetic response in today’s rapacious, consumerist marketing-led, debt-fuelled society.
Over the next couple of years, CEL will join with others in the urgent task of building a new economy for all. It will be a gift of the gospel for a captive world.
What it might look like…
There could be a number of strands to this exploration which is likely to take two years:
1. A development phase featuring:
- partnership building between interested organisations and individuals facilitated by Christian Ecology Link
- identifying ‘core texts’ on new economics to define the area of inquiry, including Prosperity without Growth (Tim Jackson, University of Surrey)
- identifying the choices necessary for transition to an economy that promotes well-being and operates within the limits of global life-support systems. Among Jackson’s proposals are: resource and emission caps, fiscal reform, investments in jobs and infrastructure, tackling systemic inequality, working time policy, strengthening social capital, dismantling the culture of consumerism. Economists Rob Deitz and Dan O’Neill highlight a similar set of factors in their recent text Enough is Enough.
2. A conference in Spring 2014 now confirmed 29th March, featuring a range of contributors.
The initial assumption is that the event would be on a single day, but two days may be necessary if the emerging vision requires it, and the human resources for organising it are available.
3. A range of subsequent outputs and enduring collaboration, perhaps including:
- Study material for groups
- A study week for those of an inquisitive disposition
- A period of ‘reflective living’ when individuals, including those on CEL’s ecocell programme record their consumption choices, identify the environmental and social impacts of those choices and formulate responses in discipleship and evangelisation
- Opportunities to learn about and participate in campaigns of NGOs working on economics, sustainability and justice, in the churches and beyond
- A publication drawing material together to illustrate the relevance to our predicament of Christian new economic thought
- An ongoing network of Christian practitioners and students of new economics.