Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Good Economy

The latest post on Transition Quaker is a reflection on the theme of 'The Good Economy', that was discussed at Britain Yearly Meeting in May.

Many Friends who ministered at the Yearly Meeting sessions on 'economic justice and sustainability' seemed to be anticipating the flourishing of a 'new economy' based on co-operation, fairness, and equality. By contrast, I think we should be preparing for a future of very long-term economic contraction with its inevitable hardships and inequalities, rather than looking to a utopian transformation of society.

Could Quaker communities play an important role in supporting each other through difficult economic times? The current discussions in Sheffield Meeting about our financial future offer an opportunity to deal practically with economic issues in ways that embody our commitments to local resilience and sustainability. I am very much looking forward to seeing what emerges from the process.


Unknown said...

I can imagine an economy based on co-operation, fairness, and equality growing alongside the current contracting one as the way to support one another.
Diane Benton

Tim Neal said...

Hi Craig,
I like this entry, it shows a pragmatism.

I've been thinking about virtue recently, not something that I've considered directly for many years. The old idea is that without virtue and discipline no movement for social change can succeed in improving social relations. Virtue and discipline are very much Quaker metadata to use a contemporary term, notions that travel with Quakers where ever they go.

Anyway, there is no need to reject idealism just to ground it in practice above all, something which requires a sense of virtue and discipline.


Craig Barnett said...

Tim - It is interesting to reflect on the different emphasis of 'virtues' and 'ideals'. Virtues are aspects of a person's character, which are embodied in their actual behaviour (ie we say someone is kind, brave or wise because of their actions). Ideals tend to be abstract principles that we give intellectual assent to and then try (and usually fail) to 'live up to' in our actions.
Personally I find the concept of virtue much more relevant and productive for ethical thinking than the ubiquitous language of ideals and principles. I've found Alisdair Macintyre's work very helpful in this at a philosophical level.
In Friendship,

Robert Daines said...

I think Craig that both pictures are true. One is the dark side and one is the light side. There is an urgency about positive change and group and community life sharing as a result of the grim alternatives which will arise.