To start this new year, we’re introducing our vision for an economy transformed.
We need an altogether new kind of economy, and we’ve developed 7 transformational ideas for Europe to bring about a life-sustaining economy within Earth’s limits.
The economy is designed, and we can redesign it!
We want to inspire action to wholly transform the current dominant growth-based, capitalist, neoliberal economy, which is at the root of the destruction of our shared planet and of people. And to dismantle the power structures maintaining and driving it.
We want to galvanise collective action from governments and people to redesign an economy that serves the wellbeing of all and our shared planet.
Over the past year and more, with our European network in 32 countries, we have developed these ideas from the bottom up, through interactive webinars and workshops with people all over Europe.
It is not a utopian ‘blueprint’ or manual for how we can achieve these ideas – rather a broad and inspiring vision. Our vision is of a new economy for the European level, and is written from a European perspective. Whilst many of the ideas can be applied globally, we seek to learn from allies in the Global South in order to integrate a genuine Global South equity perspective in future.
What’s the problem with the current economic system?
The economy in practice, politics and culture today is seen and acted on as a distinct sphere, separate from society and nature. This thinking neglects the fact that the economy both relies on and serves or impacts all people. It does not consider that the economy is embedded in nature, and thus dependent upon our shared planet for providing resources and absorbing pollutants.
European economies were built in great part through the colonisation of the Global South, extracting and depleting resources and appropriating human bodies and labour. This exploitative and unjust situation still exists today through neocolonialism.
This economy is failing. The system as we know it – and those with power who continue to push it – has driven multiple crises: ecological, democratic, financial, psycho-social.
What is the purpose of the economy we want?
We must act collectively to redesign an economy serving all people and our shared planet. One whose purpose is to satisfy the basic needs – physical and non-physical – of all people, and to ensure a decent and dignified life for all; We need to design an economy within ecological limitations, to ensure far greater global equity in the use of natural resources.
We need to ideologically divest from the idea that bigger and faster is always better, that ‘growth is progress’. European economies must degrow overall: the total volume and pace of the European economy must get smaller and slower. Degrowth means shrinking sectors of economic activity that are ecologically destructive and offer little or any social benefit, whilst maintaining or growing sectors that satisfy the basic needs and wellbeing of all.
What are our 7 transformational ideas for European governments?:
We have broken-down our vision of a new economy into 7 parts – 7 interdependent areas which together can transform our economy to sustain life within Earth’s limits.
- An economy within Earth’s limits: we need a life-sustaining economy, ending Europe’s over-exploitation of resources beyond the Earth’s capacity to regenerate. An altogether different way of producing and consuming.
- A truly democratic and participative economy: a new economy is a broader and more ambitious project of handing power back to citizens and re-placing the economic sphere under public scrutiny.
- A public future: our vision is of an economy that meets the basic needs of everyone, through publically- and common-owned and managed services and infrastructure, and without growth and profit motives.
- Rethinking work: its centrality in society, the definitions, scope, and value of different types of work – gives the potential to imagine a society liberated from, and emancipated in, wage work.
- The role of businesses: we need fundamentally different businesses and companies, both in terms of purpose and organisation – businesses that are smaller in size and power, that are collectively managed, that are for purpose not profit.
- Trade, solidarity and international relations: Europe needs to become a truly fair global economic player. To stop its unfair trade relations and move towards less and more localised trade, and to end financial debt towards Global South countries.
- Values we want in a new economy and society: a new economy must embody and enact the core values of sufficiency, care and empathy, equality and inclusiveness, and autonomy.
We hope these ideas inspire you that with imagination and collective action, a new economy is possible.