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The Great Rebalancing

It is a time of economic crisis. Will a solution be found in the private market or through government mandate?  And if through government, just who is this government anyway—”them” or “us”?  What is the responsibility of citizens for crafting sustainable economies, especially at this juncture when the very health of our eco-systems and stability of our communities depends on implementing alternatives?

In its report “The Great Transition”, the New Economics Foundation have described the urgent need of a  “Great Rebalancing” to address these questions:

In the Great Rebalancing we make a positive case for markets, but only once markets have been set up in such a way that prices reflect true social and environmental costs and benefits, and when those markets operate within scientifically defined limits. We also argue that the market sphere needs to be more tightly drawn and rebalanced alongside the public sphere and the ‘core economy’ – our ability to care, teach, learn, empathize, protest and the social networks these capacities create. In laying out the essential functions of the state, we again make a positive case – the state should be seen as ‘us’ and not ‘them’, and as a domain where we come together to achieve those things that are best done collectively. Arguing for a broader definition of ‘public goods’ and for the importance of maintaining low levels of inequality, we sketch out a facilitating state, which supports citizens, but also works with them to ‘co-produce’ well-being in areas such as health and education. This facilitating role requires a balance to be struck between direct provision, co-production, and the fostering of strong local relationships where people are encouraged to come together to pursue their shared goals and shape their own outcomes.

The sections of the report include: the Great Revaluing, the Great Redistribution, the Great Rebalancing, the Great Localization and Engagement, the Great Reskilling, the Great Economic Irrigation, and the Great Interdependence. We will focus on each element separately in a series of eNewsletters. Read the full report here.

The Schumacher Center for a New Economics is working closely with NEF to imagine and describe the details of this rebalancing.  Won’t you join engaged citizens in your own region to bring private markets and public policy into alignment to forge an economics that supports people and planet?

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