The Economic Crisis – a Quaker response
Spring 2009 No 24 – 05/11/2009
Document Code: ISSN 1368-9614
Description: I am pleased to introduce Tony Weekes who has completed his work at Woodbrooke as the Ferguson Fellow. One of the results of his research is this short paper The economic crisis - a Quaker response which we are able to publish in the Spring issue of the Journal. In it he focuses on economics as the fundamental nut to crack when considering how we can create a convivial and sustainable society in our life time. He identifies change to the current economic order as core when he struggles with the relationship between faith and practice. For him it is this change that will bring social justice, sensitivity to others’ needs and reduce wasteful consumption of the world’s non-renewable resources.
Before he describes the possibilities he begins by explaining the nineteenth century neo classical paradigm from which our understanding of economics has grown and shaped the way we view the way the world works today. He includes substantial sections exploring both money and work as the two key components of the current economic system and seeks alternative ways of viewing both. He introduces the notion of a citizens basic income for all that is distinct from selling their labour. This is one of many proposals Tony puts forward as he seeks a different approach to work arising out of the conservationist economy.
The article covers a broad sweep responding to many questions that are raised when seeking this new paradigm. There are many useful references to current work on various websites that can be explored, depending on particular interests.
Tony admits that his paper cannot offer a complete blueprint for how to proceed but recognises that it takes individual and community and government effort to work for a better world. He is seeking an alternative, evidence based paradigm for a better world. Towards the end of the article he is able to set out some of the requirements for an ecological economy which challenge our current western way of life.