Discussion at the start of the joy in enough campaign
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Green Christian has ambitious plans for our 2014 annual conference, and over the next few months we would like you to be part of them. Here you will find some of our collective thoughts dating back to April 2013.
Please add your thoughts or comment on some of the others.
Comments on "Discussion at the start of the joy in enough campaign"
People who can't wait until March next year will be interested in a day conference at St Mark's Centre for Radical Christianity on Saturday, 16 November 20th 2013 in Sheffield. The subject is 'Just' Economics. The speaker is Ann Pettifor, An international economist who predicted the financial meltdown of 2007 in 2 books published in 2003 and 2006 respectively. She was also co-founder of “Jubilee 2000" In relation to the current financial crisis, she argues that the austerity measures are not needed, will not work and are undoubtedly unjust. Her approach brings a breath of fresh air and hope to a situation which looks increasingly hopeless–an approach Christians need to hear and weigh carefully. Fundamentally, Ann is saying that the economy must serve human need rather than human needs being sacrificed to a one eyed and amoral view of economics. She shows convincingly how we can make the economic system work to serve the needs of our society and our world, including dealing with the pressing challenges of climate change. She does not pull her punches and forces us to recognise that we are currently being fed ideologically driven economic distortions of reality. For full details Google 'St Mark's CLC Sheffield'
Hi Folks, Great to see this conference coming together (received a heads-up from colleague Jeremy Williams - www.makewealthhistory.org). In case our work is of use, pleace check out: www.postgrowth.org. Regards, Donnie Maclurcan Co-Founder Post Growth Institute
Hi all I realise that we promised to list the working groups above, and we did not - I'm listing them here. also to let you know that we now have a date for the 2014 conference - Saturday March 29th, and a lead speaker - Dan O'Neill of Leeds Univ, co-author of 'Enough is Enough'. Invites to join the pre-conference working groups are being drawn up now, so watch this space. regards Tony 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 WG 2: Financial and industrial policy questions - especially: fiscal reform changing national economic goals and the way we measure progress investments in jobs and infrastructure WG 3: Equity and redistribution questions - especially: tackling systemic inequality working time – redistributing employment hours and income WG 4: Social and psychological questions – especially: strengthening social capital de-marketing, dismantling the culture of consumerism WG 5: The imperatives in scripture and theology for this new kind of economics, and their implications for the Churches’ mission.
Hi Clare As you say, doing a mapping of the scene on post-growth economics is the first step, and that is what we will do in the 'development phase' (rather than attempting a listing all the potential sources in the post above). More suggestions from readers are welcome! However new work is needed to equip the churches to promote a gospel-inspired Christian discipleship which seeks alternatives to the fallacy of endless growth. To my mind what really makes it hard to be a person of faith in Britain today is the inexorable grip of consumer capitalism on our souls. Of course there are some pioneers (and you rightly mention the Quakers) - but would you agree with us there is further to go? Paul
Philip Clarkson Webb:
I think the situation is far too urgent to put off this conference to autumn 2014. "Sacred Economics" by Charles Eisenstein is a key text to study, one of his ideas being a reform of the money system including introducing negative interest rates (as has been tried in Sweden and Germany). This would make hoarding unprofitable, such as land banks, oil reserves, minerals right & patents, and free up money for protecting the commons (forests, oceans etc.). There are a lot of other ideas too!
Echoing peterxyz, there is a danger of re-inventing the wheel. For example, I'm surprised the New Economics Foundation (nef) hasn't been mentioned in original posting or comments. It's another member of the Schumacher Circle, a partnership of like-minded organisations. And see also the Quakernomics blog. http://neweconomics.org/ http://www.quakerweb.org.uk/blog/ I would question the appropriateness of the conference being held in the City, and even in London, as London-centrism is part of the problem... But maybe that's the point. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21934564 Clare
We are very happy to have people from all backgrounds participating in this debate, and in the action that will arise from it. If people send me their e-addresses and their particular areas of interest relevant to this 'new economics', or offers of help with the project, I'll reply to them personally. My email is email@example.com. There has already been debate and discussion relevabt to this on CELINK, which I hope to circulate shortly. Tony
There are three key aspects to this: 1) Determining what a sustainable society within planetary limits would look like - since in "Limits to Growth" terms we are currently in "overshoot" the planet's systems are being eroded so the sustainable steady state will depend on the path & time taken to get there. 2) Determining how to make the transition from where we are to where we need to be in the least disruptive way possible - In "Propsperity Without Growth" Tim Jackson identifies this as an area where a lot of work needs to be done. 3) Securng sufficient public support to enable the path identified in 2 to be implemented The "exit" option mentioned by Mike above is not really viable - everyone will be affected if we fail to get this right - we would not be able to escape by withdrawing to a resilient smallholding. In terms of sustainability John Donne's "No man is an island etc" is particularly pertinent. My own background is in science rather than economics so I think my time would be better spent raising awareness of the need to act on issues like Climate Change - particularly since the next IPCC report is imminent. So I am not formally volunteering. However if you put your draft reports on the website I will endeavour to provide constructive review/comments.
Thanks Peter I could not agree more with these points. On your first point I've been busy reading and summarising key points from a wide range of publications so that we will have a reading list and bibliography for participants. Tim Jackson, Dietz & O'Neill, the Skidelsky's, Juliet Schor, Mark Powley, Wilkinson & Picket - the list is quite long. Participants who have time will be invited to read the full documents while we hope the summaries will help the majority who will be more 'time challenged'. Help with this process would be apreciated, if you are volunteering? Even to the extent of giving feedback on this bibliography and guidance notes for participants that goes with it. We would be very grateful. We may go ahead with the conference earlier in 2014, but the working groups and the project as a whole will go on much longer. Tony
Ooh, I've just reminded myself, The late Albert Hirschman was an economist who wrote loads of interesting stuff. In his "Exit, Voice and Loyalty" though, I believe he (unwittingly) wrote about the prophetic role of the church in its response to unjust economic structures. Do we A) EXIT - just get out. Like that bit in Revelation where it's made pretty clear that it's time to leave Babylon. This can sound a bit escapist, but I tend to think of it as more Desert Fathers than Rapture. B) opt for LOYALTY - just go along with it. Sad reality is, in practice this is our default option most of the time. C) use our VOICE - to challenge things from within (like Daniel, Joseph, etc.). This is obviously risky, both in terms of the seductivness of rich dinners/Potiphar's wife, and the ever-present possibility of lions' dens/prison (to run with the examples), but it can also offer amazing opportunities to speak truth unto power and all that. Anyway, it's basically what Jesus did when he came to earth.
This does look very interesting. I'm gonna try to spend some time with 'Prosperity Without Growth', but as a quick note, I take every opportunity to recommend E.F. Schumacher's 'Small is Beautiful' in contexts such as these. Whoever's compiling the list of 'core texts' should have a read if they haven't already. I heard about this through Speak (www.speak.org.uk) so I assume you already have some kind of relationship with them (us)...?
Looks interesting & exciting - potentially a really useful contribution. A few thoughts: 1) Don't try to reinvent the wheel - there is already a lot of useful stuff out there from inside and outside the christian community - the first step will be to collate it and evaluate it 2) Don't try to go it alone - you mention drawing in other groups - this is vital - if you want widespread adoption of the end product then you need to involve a wide constituency from the start. In particular recognise where you don't have the technical expertise and involve organisations who have (eg Transition, CAT, A Rocha, JRI) - at least in peer reviewing the output. 3) A Day Conference is almost certainly going to be too short 4) Autumn 2014 is probably a more realistic timescale than Spring 2014 given the amount there is to do to prepare the "manifesto". 5) Set up an online discussion forum not restricted to CEL members as part of the preparation for the conference where those interested cna identify resource material and contribute ideas