Change the Rules is a project from the New Economics Foundation to map local, community and other initiatives to build a more democratic and sustainable economy, and showcase the policies to make this happen.
Just as the Tredegar Medical Aid Society, set up by South Wales miners in 1890, inspired the creation of the National Health Service, today’s new economy projects can inspire the institutions of tomorrow.
World War Two was the catalyst for creating the welfare state and NHS, as a war-weary population demanded a more equal and secure future. Today, the need to recover from the economic crisis caused by coronavirus creates a renewed urgency for change.
Even before the pandemic, our economic model was failing: flatlining wages, precarious work and, above all, the existential threat of environmental breakdown. We need to build back better, but we do not need to start from scratch.
‘We need to build back better, but we do not need to start from scratch.’
Across the UK, there are communities and a growing number of local authorities developing models that allow us to imagine a different future, in which we share prosperity and protect the planet. They include worker co-operatives, community-led housing, municipal and local public enterprise, zero-carbon power generation, and alternative forms of finance.
Some of these projects are flourishing, while others are fighting to survive. Many have joined civil society’s remarkable response to coronavirus. But they must overcome the immediate impact of lockdown and the long-term effects of austerity, as well as a web of rules and institutions that stifles their activities and sustains our broken system.
So as well as celebrating these initiatives, Change the Rules showcases the policies that will nurture them. And because the threats we face need urgent national and international action, we set out the policies to scale up these local alternatives and embed their principles at the highest level.
Let’s change the rules to make the economy work for everyone.
Home page illustration by Julie Saumagne.
Policy icons by Becca Melhuish.