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 Balanced development to help tackle inequalities

CymunedolPlans for an alternative economy driven by social justice, wellbeing and environmental sustainability have been drawn up by a left-leaning pressure group.
The Compass Group says the market economy has delivered massive inequalities in wealth and is neither inevitable nor desirable.



‘Despite increased material affluence, we are living in a social recession. Markets are increasingly the master of mankind, rather than the other way around. In the good society the economy is a means to social justice, quality of life and environmental sustainability, rather than an end in itself.’ An alternative economy, it argues, would put people first. This could mean halting ‘dysfunctional’ growth in London and southeast England in favour of balanced development to help tackle inequalities in wealth by ‘relocating enterprise, government, and national scientific, technological and cultural investment towards the poorer regions’. There would be no special tax breaks for social enterprises. Instead, all companies would be made more accountable for their actions, facing higher taxes and tough legal penalties for environmentally damaging behaviour.

The knowledge economy would also be re-engineered to facilitate a ‘knowledge society’ in which resources and opportunities were spread widely rather than being held or owned by a privileged few.

And a standing commission on the quality of life – modelled on the Low Pay Commission – would bring together employers, unions, government and others to recommend voluntary and regulatory action to improve life for all.


A foreword to the report by Compass chair Neil Lawson says: ‘Once we kneel before the market, everything is sacrificed in its name. The public sector is commercialised to open up new markets, communities are ripped apart as jobs disappear, national identities are distorted as institutions like the BBC and the Post Office cannot stand the competitive heat, community cohesion becomes more difficult, and of course the environment is destroyed.

‘The ultimate transformation is of people, who are conditioned to fend only for themselves. We become what the neoliberals said we are – lone individuals looking after number one.’ Compass Group



 
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