Praising the free market in her speech last week, Theresa May is trying to cling on to capitalism. But we know where that takes us, and that the future should be different. The free market has failed and the old order are crumbling, and Mrs May knows it.
Our economy kills people’s aspirations and hands unjustifiable rewards to those who least need them. The threat of Brexit, the challenge of automation, the dangers of ballooning personal debt, the risk of another banking crash and spiralling wealth at the top: to face these headwinds we must comprehensively reshape our collective economic future. It is time to ask fundamental questions about what the economy is for and how it can be redesigned to serve society – and, as the philosopher and politician Roberto Unger puts it ensure everyone has “a better chance to live a larger life”.
People should have decent, well-paid work, yes, but that’s not ambitious enough. We believe people should have more time off, and be liberated from the shackles of wage labour. A larger life has purpose and balance and is rich with opportunities.
Our starting point is nothing short of the liberation of the human spirit – meaning we reject simply tinkering with a welfare state that’s become synonymous with suffering or endlessly measuring gross domestic product while neglecting our wellbeing.
Ultimately, we know that any politics that fails to understand the environmental limits of our planet is ultimately redundant and the Green Party is the only party to understand this. We don’t just need a technological shift, we need a paradigm shift.
This is a time for a Government Commission on post growth economics, which would look at the possibility of moving towards a steady state economy: one that seeks distribution rather than blind expansion; that does not demand infinite growth on a finite planet.
Jonathan Edmunds, Green Party Councillor Randwick, Whiteshill and Ruscombe