@CooperativesUk ‘2018 – Time to get real’ blog now live #coops #policy #2018 #challenges

PolicyBlog2Here’s an extract from the latest policy blog from Co-ops UK Policy Officer, James Wright. To read the full blog click the link here: http://bit.ly/2EYgaDH

2018 – Time to get real

2018 is the year politicians and business leaders must get real about an inclusive economy. Later this month many of the powerful will gather in Davos for the World Economic Form. This year’s theme is ‘Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World’ and inclusive economics features prominently in the blurb. Please, let’s close the gap between their rhetoric and our reality.

At home, the UK government still struggles to address the sense of unfairness and disillusionment that’s been behind recent political shocks. In 2018 Co-operatives UK will again offer politicians from all parties a pragmatic way to get to grips with this agenda, by increasing their support for co-ops. With the help of our members, perhaps we’ll get somewhere.

“The greatest challenge of our time is coming to a head: we need an economy that allows everyone to provide for their wellbeing within the carrying capacity of our planet.”  

Idiots, liars and optimists 

The greatest challenge of our time is coming to a head: we need an economy that allows everyone to provide for their wellbeing within the carrying capacity of our planet.

Many at Davos will dutifully point out reasons to be cautiously optimistic. In the first decades of 21st century growth in the developing world allowed half a billion people to escape extreme poverty. At the same time significant progress has been made to create economical alternatives to fossil fuels. And governments, businesses and consumers are starting to act on issues like modern slavery and plastics pollution.

But only idiots or liars would profess comfortable optimism about our chances of meeting the challenge. Escape from $1.25-a-day poverty does not equate with meaningful wellbeing. And recent global growth has distributed wellbeing very unevenly, with middle income countries now home to fastest rising populations of poor people. Meanwhile growing numbers of people in the rich world face deepening economic and social insecurity. Furthermore, experience has taught us that the relationship between material prosperity and wellbeing is subject to the law of diminishing returns.

At the same time these inadequate gains have only been possible by inflicting severe damage on our planetary ecosystem. We’re on course to overshoot the hallowed two degrees warming red line by a whopping 50 per cent by the end of the century. And the annual rate at which species are now becoming extinct is estimated to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the long term norm. Welcome to the Anthropocene. We’re blowing it.

And all the while trends in technology, work and inter-generational transfer point to an ever widening gulf in opportunity, wealth and power between a privileged few and the rest of humanity.

In these circumstances those gathering at Davos should not be surprised when the legitimacy and stability of their economic and political order is eroded by demagogues, oligarchs, extremists and tyrants.

Escaping the straitjacket 

(continued online at – http://bit.ly/2EYgaDH )

 

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