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.

The symptoms of our failing economic model surround us: flatlining wages, precarious work and, above all, the existential threat of environmental breakdown.

Viewed from on high, our situation can appear hopeless. And yet, across the UK, there are seeds of hope, as some communities develop local economic models that share prosperity and protect the planet. These alternatives, springing up from below, allow us to imagine a different future.

This matters because, as Ted Howard of Democracy Collaborative said

What holds a system in place, often, is a failure of imagination that things can fundamentally change, and that there are real, viable alternatives for organising a new or a next system… Part of the answer lies in on-the-ground experimentation and model building that embraces the design and principles of a new systemic alternative.”

Around the UK, people are engaged in these activities: 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. All must overcome a lack of funding and the effects of austerity, and a web of policies, regulations and institutions that stifles these 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.

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. Let’s change the rules to make the economy work for everyone.

Change the Rules has been created by the New Economics Foundation, with help from our supporting partners, Far Nearer, Common Wealth and We Own It

Home page illustration by Julie Saumagne.

Policy icons by Becca Melhuish.