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Common Weal Launches Resilience Economics

03-06-2020


Common Weal today launches Resilience Economics, an economic framework for rebuilding Scotland's economy post-virus (read the full report here  or the summary here ). The report is backed by a list of leading economists including Costas Lapavistas, Professor of economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Mike Danson Professor of Enterprise Policy at Heriot Watt University,  Giorgos Kallis ecological economist and research Professor at the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies and Steve Keen, Professor of Economics and Head of the School of Economics, Politics and History at Kingston University.

This report, previewed by Douglas Fraser here, and covered in The National here and here, provides the framework Scotland needs if it is serious about 'building back better'. It is a body of economic theories which come together to form a coherent and comprehensive response to the moment in which we find ourselves – but it is also a repair for the economic failures that have burdened us and a solution to the climate crisis ahead.


It is called 'Resilience Economics' because it's about our ability to face change without the economy toppling over every time. We've had two major crises in just over ten years and our economy has barely coped with either. This can't keep happening, because climate change, resource depletion, the loss of biodiversity and constant pollution (including plastic pollution) mean more shocks to our economy are inevitable. An economy that hurts its own citizens every time change comes isn't the economy we need.

This report is not an action plan; we will start to launch that in the coming weeks. This is an explanation of what we want to achieve. A resilient Scottish economy will produce much more of what we consume. This will drive an entire industry using Scotland's copious natural resources to make high-quality, environmentally-responsible goods and materials. This will stimulate extended supply chain industries which will also be engaged in productive manufacture. These new industry sectors will create new jobs which are more productive and higher skilled and so better paid and more secure. This will be delivered by many more Scottish-owned businesses and will be rapidly stimulated by the the government and its agencies implementing a concerted plan to make it happen.

Essential elements of our life like housing, energy, food and public services will be managed in a different way than the non-essential parts of the economy where regulated free markets are appropriate. As these high-pay industry sectors develop, the low pay sectors which are failing now will be allowed to decline and new and expanding domestic businesses will be supported to 'creatively adapt' to fill the new opportunities and bring better replacement jobs. This will all be underpinned by a commitment to end environmental damage and create much greater job security for workers through a return to industrial democracy.

Because a Resilient Economy must be more productive and useful and replace low-pay and insecure jobs with high-pay, secure ones. It will do much more to prioritise domestic productive business over corporations and help and encourage those businesses to develop themselves as part of a new green economy. Property price inflation will be brought under control so excessive rents and mortgages don’t undermine the economy again. Banking will safe and boring so that a reliable and resilient banking sector can be trusted to provide crucial services.

We will reduce the volume of commercial retail and to transition away from a reliance on the low-pay service sector through a major programme of green reindustrialisation and increasing domestic manufacturing capacity, driven in large part by land-based industries making proper and responsible use of Scotland's copious natural resources. An ‘entrepreneurial state’ will implement a national industrial strategy to substantially increase the proportion of our economy which is domestically owned. Nothing in Scotland’s recovery and its subsequent reindustialisation process would be considered if it does not decrease economic inequality and poverty. We will therefore measure the success of the economy in a much more balanced way and focus on quality of life rather than corporate profits.

This is the start of change. This foundation means we need not fear what is to come, that we should greet it with enthusiasm, confident that Scotland can not only cope but thrive. We just need to leave behind the old economic tools which brought us here and accept that it is time for something new.

So download the report here and give it a read. We hope you're inspired and ready for the big launch. Sign up here to join over 1000 others to become a volunteer for our biggest campaign yer. 

Source: Common Weal

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