The common good – a coming force in mainstream politics?

The common good – a coming force in mainstream politics?

On Saturday 19th May, I attended the Labour Party conference in London on the State of The Economy. During what was generally a really interesting day, one thing that I was struck by was how often the term “common good” cropped up, both in speeches from the main platform and in the breakout sessions on specific topics.

For example, in the session on environmental economics that was chaired by Clive Lewis MP, some of the discussion was about how the UK Treasury might be “greened” to make it more motivated by environmental sustainability and localised democracy that is currently the case. Laurie MacFarlane of OpenDemocracy made a plea in the post-lunch session on Brexit for there to be new metrics and methods of measuring economic success in place of simply using GDP. The closing plenary session featured impassioned speeches from Kate Raworth about the need for the transformation of our economy into an adaptive distributed network and from Paul Mason about the need to build an employment culture that recognises the fundamental importance of social justice.

Elsewhere, we have seen Environment Secretary Michael Gove recently announcing his desire to see UK agricultural policy shift subsidies away from simply rewarding big landowners for owning lots of land and towards rewarding them for the quality of their environmental stewardship.

All of which offers some encouragement that the values and principles upon which the Economy for the Common Good is based may be starting to find some allies and adherents in mainstream political thinking and policy. This should in turn inspire us in our efforts to build partnerships and relationships with other individuals and groups and not to be necessarily deterred by reputations, previous public pronouncements or what appears in the media. An open mind and a willingness to meet people where they are will be the best way to proceed as we seek to build the ECG movement in the UK and internationally.

Andy Chapman
Economy for the Common Good UK CIC


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