A new pamphlet published by the New Economics Foundations calls for a redesigned welfare system that is less dependent on the market economy, and instead more reliant on the economies of people and planet.
Its authors argue that a more sustainable system would be achieved by putting equality and well-being at the heart of social policy, by tapping the resources of the core ‘non-financial’ economy, and no longer relying on continuing economic growth to provide the cash for public services.
‘Britain has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and a sustained record of social policy interventions that most people value and many regard as the envy of the world,’ the report says. ‘Yet society remains inherently unjust and increasingly divided. If the welfare system has failed to deliver social justice in the long years of plenty, there will be no hope for social justice in the face of new economic and environmental threats – unless the system is radically transformed.’
A key recommendation that reinforces earlier work published by the Foundation involves growing the ‘core economy’, described as the time, wisdom, experience, energy, knowledge and skills of individuals. Changes to employment policies, income support and childcare arrangements could help to nurture the productivity of this unvalued economy, the authors suggest.
This article first appeared in the Ecologist April 2009