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Guest blog by Henry Leveson-Gower and Teresa Linzer (Promoting Economic Pluralism)

Post the Crash, we seemed set for economic revolution. 10 years later and here we are – still waiting, entangled in an economic system that is just as addicted to GDP growth as it was 10 years ago. So, how best to bring about the long overdue revolution? What ways are there to contribute to shifting and opening up the narrow systemic focus, from mere growth for its own sake to sustainability, wellbeing and genuine prosperity?

At Promoting Economic Pluralism, we think that part of the answer is changing economics education. The language of economics is the language of power and many students are required to learn it both in economics departments and as part of interdisciplinary masters. At the moment it is generally taught as if there was only one way of thinking about economics and that certainly involves endless growth.

However that is not true of all courses: some lecturers are more pluralist in how they teach economics. This means recognising that there is more than one way of thinking about the economy and encouraging critical reflection. These lecturers draw from a wide range of economic traditions such as ecological, institutional, complexity and post-Keynesian economics. Although this is often referred to as new economics, in fact its roots go back to the 1930s and further. There is a wealth of scholarship and literature, which is largely ignored by the mainstream.

This provides the space for the main economic theology of growth, self-interest, shareholder dominance etc to be challenged. It gives students tools to then question the policy and perspectives based on economic orthodoxy that they are likely to encounter later in work. It also provides ideas on which to base new innovative approaches to tackling the social and environmental challenges we face. Students are likely to come ideas of social enterprise, wellbeing, ecological limits and more, that mainstream economics would ignore.

We are therefore planning to raise the profile and legitimacy of these types of courses so students are encouraged to join them and other universities are encouraged to put them on.

We have chosen to start with masters courses as university departments have much more flexibility over what they can teach at this level. Students from these courses will also be entering the ‘real world’ very soon to use their learning.

There are many departments and centres teaching these courses as can be seen here. It is happening in the same high ranking universities where the economic departments themselves defend the status quo. However the courses have a whole range of labels. For the uninitiated, it is not obvious they take a pluralist approach to economics.

Hence we want to co-create an accreditation system so they can have a common identity and ‘brand’.  The point of this is not to determine what economics is ‘right’ or which courses are ‘best’. It is to build a shared sense between those inside and outside of academia of what economic teaching looks like that fosters creativity and critical thinking to address real world issues and genuinely transform the economic system. Then potential students can easily and confidently find these courses.  We will also of course work closely with Rethinking Economics and the student movement to magnify this effect.

To turn this idea into reality, we want to invite you to participate in actually co-creating the scheme.

This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to get involved in the detail or devote huge amounts of time to it. We will ensure people can give their views on the principles and broad approach as easily as possible. Please sign-up here to be involved and if you first want to find out more, sign up for a webinar here. And please make sure to also register your public support for this initiative here! It is crucial that we demonstrate a diverse and wide-ranging support for this initiative. Your voice matters.

Join a webinar.

For more info about why we think this is the road to much needed change in economics check out our website and have a look at our latest blog here.

On 15 September 2018, the ten year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, #WEAll campaigners gave away free money outside the bank’s former building in New York. The purpose: to urge people to rethink our relationship with the economy, and to promote sharing, collaboration and dialogue. #FreeMoneyDay #10yearson

Photo and video by Create the Remarkable

Wondering what WEAll is all about, and what we’re hoping to achieve?

Amp team members Katherine and Lisa wrote a piece for the Transforming Capitalism Lab, part of our member The Presencing Institute.

Read it here and join the discussion.

Uniting the world for one massive clean up
September 15, worldwide

150 countries cleaning up on the same day? No problem!

So far, over 16 million people in 113 countries have joined us in cleaning up illegally dumped waste. Over the next couple of years, we have an ambitious plan of engaging 150 countries for one massive World Cleanup Day in September 2018, making it the biggest positive civic action the world has seen.

We understand what a challenge this is. By the time we’re through, we will have organized the biggest international clean-up the world has ever seen, and probably the biggest positive civic action movement ever.

In 2018 – World Cleanup Day on September 15th

Much of 2018 will be devoted to preparations and execution of the World Cleanup Day. But we will also be very focused on awareness and debate about sustainable waste solutions worldwide. After all, as much fun as the World Cleanup Day will be… we only want to do it once!

We already have staff working around the clock in preparation. But whether we truly succeed in cleaning up the entire world in one day really hinges on one thing… you.

If you’re interested in being a part of a historic, challenging, rewarding, and fun event, don’t wait. We need you now! Check out all the ways you can get involvedand be inspired.

 

 

Ten years since the financial crash, it’s time for system change.
12 days of action from September 15, worldwide

WEAll is joining the Change Finance Coalition to demand change in the finance system.

A decade ago, banks got bailed out and the public got sold out.

We didn’t cause the crash but we paid a heavy price. Lost jobs, stagnant pay and less money for schools and hospitals.

Our financial system remains as rigged and dangerous as ever, from casino trading to recklessly funding fossil fuel projects, treating nature as free to waste.

Instead of sleepwalking into another crisis, it’s time our politicians took action.

10 years on, we’re calling on our governments to change finance for good!

Get involved

What would it be like if our relationship to money were different?
September 15, worldwide

Free Money Day is a global invitation for people to explore, in a liberating and fun way, what it might be like if our relationship to money was a little different. On September 15th, worldwide, people will hand out their own money to complete strangers, two coins or notes at a time, asking the recipients to pass one of these coins or notes on to someone else. It’s an opportunity to start fresh conversations about money, sharing, and anything else that might come up.

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Blog by Lisa Hough-Stewart

I was thrilled to be part of the international Rethinking Economics summer gathering earlier in August.

Rethinking Economics (RE) is an international network of students, academics and professionals aiming to build better economics education and thus contribute to transformation of the economic system.  RE is a WEAll member and we headed to their gathering to explain what WEAll is doing and our vision, and make connections between the work of RE and the wider movement.

This was a really special event – by the time I arrived on day 4, the participants were clearly a really tight group. Despite having already had four intense days of strategic planning and plotting to change the world, energy and enthusiasm levels were through the roof. I reckon there are a few world changers in this group!

I supported Rowan from RE to run the opening session on day five, encouraging students to work in their national or regional groups to use power mapping tools. They each mapped out the different external stakeholders who have influence over their university curriculum and came up with strategies for working with at least one of these to create change in the new semester. The depth of strategic thinking was really impressive for a short session!

Then it was time to deliver a presentation on what WEAll is all about and I was delighted to have a packed room full of people curious to learn about us. I started by asking everyone to say what they think a wellbeing economy is or includes, and the answers were brilliant – all completely in line with WEAll’s definitions! (see the photo) It was great to get an overwhelmingly positive response to my short workshop, and a wee queue of students keen to discuss collaboration at the end.

Myself and the other presenters were swept up in the busy afternoon of workshops, and I had so much fun as part of Team Meme Machine creating memes that RE can use during the #10yearson campaign (watch this space). We were also grateful to be welcomed into the brilliant (late night!) closing party, complete with quiz and talent show. These Rethinkers know how to have fun.

It seemed there was a meaningful connection with WEAll to be made with every Rethinking Economics group, and the other presenters I spoke with to – being part of this incredible Gathering made me more sure than ever that WEAll as an alliance to connect the wellbeing economy movement is really needed. It also gave me a real boost that with the energy and talent that already exists within the movement, we really can succeed in our ambitious goals.