Talking Points: March 2018
A big shift in the economy needed – but where are the ideas?
‘Reflective Corbynites and thoughtful Conservatives are agreed on one thing—the time is ripe for a big shift. Our economy seems to continually disappoint, and our politics pulsates with anger.’ But where are the ideas? This is the question posed by Tom Clark and Marie Le Conte in their article in the April 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine. In the late 1970s/early 1980s the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) was ready with a supply of political ideas. Where is today’s equivalent?
Despite today’s lack of think tanks on ‘the political frontline’, ideas for a new economy seem to be appearing thick and fast.
Rachel Reeves’ everyday economy
22 March saw the launch of MP Rachel Reeves’ new pamphlet The Everyday Economy. This is the forgotten and neglected economy of ‘ordinary, taken for granted, hard work by under-appreciated people often earning a meagre amount of money and struggling to get by’. She focuses on improving work, supporting families and encouraging devolution, paid for by taxes on wealth not income. Click here for her full speech and here for Caroline Hartnell’s blog on the launch event.
Locality’s locally based economy
Published on 26 March as part of Locality’s Keep it Local campaign, Powerful communities, strong economies calls on public service commissioners to move away from high-profile outsourcing firms such as Carillion and Capita and commission more local organisations. Read more about it here.
Localis’s focus on local economic strategies
Published on 27 March, Localis’s The Delivery of an Industrial Strategy calls on government to have local industrial strategies in place for every part of England by the end of the Brexit transition period as a way of ‘revitalising places’ and ‘making the economy work more in the interests of the people who are part of it’.
Ideas from the grassroots
In the latest in this Guardian series on ‘The Alternatives’, Aditya Chakrabortty takes us to ‘Meet Britain’s Willy Wonkas: the ideas factory that could save UK industry’, in particular Green Lab, a ‘makerspace’, of which Britain apparently has more than 150. His previous column focused on employee ownership and buying out your boss.
Some lessons on how not to do things
Why are cities like Manchester excluding so many citizens? John Harris looks at a model of regeneration that focuses on ‘understanding that successful cities are really about how you attract people who have got money’.
While an OpenDemocracy article turns to America and asks What can we learn from contrasting efforts to combat poverty and injustice in 1960s America? The main thing being that it’s best not to rely on ‘powerful, predominantly white lawmakers devising solutions’. Today’s Poor People’s Campaign is taking a more decentralized approach.
Finally, all you need is love …
If we truly cared about poor people, low-wage Britain wouldn’t exist, argues James Bloodworth in the Guardian. After six months spent in low-paid work, his conclusion is that ‘the indignity of modern low-paid work will not be fixed by a list of policy prescriptions. There’s a deeper problem: our attitudes towards low-paid work and the people who do it.’
‘Talking Points’ is collated by Caroline Hartnell, who convenes the Rethinking Poverty blog.