During Sustainable Development: Principles and practice last week we were involved in an interesting if not challenging discussion, lead by the New Economics Foundation’s Graham Randles, where the students discussed the inherent flaws in our current economic model and what the potential alternatives might be. Prior to this I had been struck by an interview with economist Prof Manuel Castells, where he discussed the rise of the network society and the alternative economic models becoming prevalent in communities around the world.
To paraphrase “The financial crisis which has unfolded since 2008 marks more than an economic downturn, according to Prof Castells. The problems which caused the crisis are so deep rooted that they have provoked a profound reassessment of our economic beliefs and institutions. They have also given rise to social movements such as Occupy and alternative economic cultures opposed to financial capitalism.” These ideas are explored in “Aftermath: The Cultures of the Economic Crisis”, a book edited by Prof Castells.”
I highly recommend listening to this recording, from an event at the London School of Economics in October. It certainly gave me more insight into the alternative cultures and approaches communities are already putting in place, in the face of an economic system that has let them down and left them vulnerable.