Suggested features of a new local economyMay 1st, 2012 7 comments
What might our new local economy look like? Here we provide you with some suggested features. These are all up for discussion, and we are figuring it out as we go – please send us your thoughts. For example, we know we need to add one about alternative means of exchange.
For clarity – here we are talking about the ‘systemic’ features of a new local economy. And elsewhere we talk about the desired features or characteristics of individual enterprises that operate within an economic system. Clearly the two are connected, as the overall system will reflect the attributes of the individual organisations within it. However, some aspects are more sensibly discussed at the system level – a local currency for example will not work if only a small number of businesses in your local economy use it, and a closed loop system only works if local businesses can make use of the ‘waste’ of others.
This page gives a short introduction to some suggested systemic features, with links to a wealth of resources if you want more detail.
Localisation is rapidly becoming one of those terms with several different meanings. Here we put a stick in the sand to define what localisation means, in the context of making the transition to a lower energy, higher quality of life future; and what it does not mean. And we consider some benefits to businesses and communities of localisation. More…
A new economy considers natural resource usage and the earth’s ecosystems, so these are taken into account in business practices and balance sheets. The commonly held view is that this is an expensive distraction from making money. But as things change, this will make more financial sense where businesses need to manage risks, meet regulatory requirements and seek the opportunities in the shifting of economic priorities. More…
A new economy which is resilient and sustainable needs to find ways to do business within the limits of natural resources, and the ability of the earth to absorb polluting waste from our use of them. This requires a fundamental rethinking of some things we take for granted: progress, our relationship with the environment, business models, how we use resources, waste and even ownership. It may feel like a daunting task, but there are models to help us, resources to communicate about them and businesses leading the way to show how its done. More…
In addition to addressing climate change impacts and working within natural resource limits, we propose that a new local economy integrates business not just with the natural world but also with society, creating value that is shared more equitably, offering opportunities for all in the community to enjoy good quality of life. This involves an approach to defining businesses’ relationship with society as one that finds opportunities for shared value for both. More…
To resist growth is to risk economic and social collapse. To pursue it is to endanger the ecosystems on which we depend for long term survival. A steady state economy represents a positive alternative to the pursuit of endless economic growth. It is an economy that aims to maintain a stable level of resource consumption and a stable population. It is an economy where energy and resource use are reduced to levels that are within ecological limits, and where the goal of maximising economic output is replaced by the goal of maximising quality of life. More…
What are the alternatives to money and markets as conventionally understood? This sections looks at new forms of money that a community can create for itself, and at the ‘gift economy’ where ongoing relationships enable people to exchange without using money at all. This includes complementary currencies, LETS, TimeBanks, community exchanges and so on. It also offers some suggestions for what an integrated REconomy Exchange System might look like. More…
If you would like to read more ideas for how a new economy might operate, see the Green Economist website. This is where Molly Scott Cato (spokesperson for the Green Party on economic issues, and part of Transition Stroud) shares her ideas and links to other experts in this emerging field.
Her book Green Economics is available through the usual sources. Here is one of Molly’s papers called “The Green Economy: Why Ownership and Control Matter” which highlights the importance of the co-operative movement and principles in particular.
Credits: Image Source: Keys by Elwood W. McKay III
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