Talking Points: January/February 2018
by Rethinking Poverty
New Guardian series on alternative economics
‘It’s time to take on the zombies’ is the title of the first article in Aditya Chakrabortty’s new fortnightly series called ‘The Alternatives’ and focused on ‘how to make the economy work for everyone’. In this first article he bemoans the present state of our society, ‘stalked by zombie ideas, zombie politicians, zombie institutions – stripped of credibility and authority, yet somehow still presiding over our lives’ and promises to investigate ‘real-world examples of people doing things differently’.
Letters published in response to this article point out that there is more already going on in this are than Chakrabortty suggests.
The second article in the series visits Preston, a town that had hit rock bottom but turned its fortunes around when local councillor Matthew Brown teamed up with Neil McInroy of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES) to persuade six of the public bodies on their doorstep to commit to spending locally wherever possible.
Subsequent articles take us to Granby, a derelict area of Liverpool, where a group of residents took back and rebuilt their shattered streets, and the German town of Wolfhagen where residents took control of the local electrity grid and sparked a community revolution.
Talking About Poverty: new research from JRF
‘This is a summary of a two-year investigation by the FrameWorks Institute, exploring public attitudes towards poverty in the UK. It recommends a set of tested strategies to build a deeper understanding of how poverty happens and the changes needed to address it.’
A world without work?
Rethinking Poverty has been criticized for seeming to promote the idea of a post-work world when what people really need these days is jobs – an idea that is explored in a Guardian article called ‘Post-work: the radical idea of a world without work’. Work has ruled our lives for centuries, and it does so today more than ever. But a new generation of thinkers insists there is an alternative, argues Andy Beckett.
Who’s in favour of a universal basic income?
Well, Polly Toynbee isn’t: ‘The age-old dilemma is how to persuade voters to pay up for redistribution. Not by arousing moral outrage at a very expensive something-for-nothing for all. Basic income idealism distracts from finding better answers.’
This discussion forms part of an article by Toynbee called ‘A cradle-to-grave welfare system is best, but who would want it today?’ published 75 years on from publication of the Beveridge report, which provided the blueprint for the postwar welfare state.
‘Talking Points’ is collated by Caroline Hartnell, who convenes the Rethinking Poverty blog.