What Wales Can Do: Asset Based Policies and the Foundational Economy
On 29th June in Swansea foundationaleconomy.com and CREW launch What Wales Can Do a new report on policy for the Swansea Bay city region. This new report follows up the earlier 2015 report What Wales Can Be and adds new evidence, arguments and framing. The argument in this new report is for an asset based approach to developing the foundational economy in the region. The starting point is two observations about the limits of the main stream policies and policy making. The Swansea Bay City Deal which was signed off in Spring 2017 focuses on next generation industries which will never be volume employers; and more fundamentally, government (local, Welsh and national) does not know what to do in key policy areas like small business support and adult care. So what we need is a coalition of state and non- state actors to undertake scaleable experiments. These would aim to break down the barriers between economic and social policy and increase tangible welfare (not market incomes measured by GVA per capita). The report can be downloaded here.
With Article 50 triggered and Theresa May’s opportunist UK general election announced, British voters must brace themselves for a campaign which does not frame the key issues or articulate the choices for our increasingly disunited kingdom. So here is the antidote, a new working paper from foundationaleconomy.com researchers which explains how we could and should make Brexit work by reorganising the foundational economy which provides essential goods and services to every household. Theresa May wants “an economy that works for everyone“ and Jeremy Corbyn wants a “ fairer society” This working paper sketches a route map for how to deliver on these objectives. The working paper is available here.
In 2016 we decided as a group to hold an annual public event which would be open to academics and practitioners, keeping the numbers limited in the interests of sustained discussion. The colloquia take radical social innovation as their theme because that represents our concept of policy and practice.
The second colloquium will take place at Queen Mary University of London in May 2017. You can see the draft programme here. Any queries about the May 2017 programme should go to our organiser at Queen Mary, Colin Haslam, firstname.lastname@example.org
The First Radical Social Innovation Colloquium in Cardiff was co-sponsored by WISERD and CRESC in May 2016. You can read Mick Moran’s blog about the colloquium here and access the conference programme here. The opening plenary presentation by Julie Froud can be read here.
On the 8th of March 2017 the Welsh Assembly held a 60 minute debate on the foundational economy. Four Labour members proposed a motion which “Calls on the Welsh Government to develop a strategy to maximise the impact of the foundational economy across Wales as part of its work on developing a new economic strategy.” This attracted cross party support from Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives, and the Economy Minister, Ken Skates, then responded positively. Watch the debate here.
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In March 2017 we published the most recent in a series of public interest reports which have attracted considerable public attention. The new report Coming Back Capability and Precarity in UK Textiles and Apparel develops a distinctive analysis of firm capability and emphasises the importance of supportive ecological conditions. The practical implication is that a large scale reshoring of garment production is not going to happen, but, that there is much to be done in supporting small and medium firms and policing competition from firms who are not paying minimum wages.