On Saturday 13th October as many as 90 people attended the ‘An Economy for the 99%’ event that was held in St Peter’s Church, Derby. The event was organised by Derby Climate Coalition with the backing from a large number of organisations, especially The Midlands Co-operative. People were hungry to hear the speakers and swap ideas. Many people said that it was a brilliant event because it brought so many people together, from different walks of life, and it gave them hope and confidence.
As Ann Pettifor, the opening speaker and co-chair of ‘The Alliance for Jobs and Climate’ encouraged, indeed inspired, confidence: “You are economists! You know about income and expenditure, you understand how debt builds up, if you’ve been abroad you know about exchange rates”. She reminded of the relevance of Keynes and his message “look after employment, and the budget will take care of itself”.
Doing further research after leading the Jubilee 2000 campaign for the cancellation of unpayable debt of poor countries, Ann foresaw the outcome of the build-up of private debt in her 2006 book ‘The Coming First World Debt Crisis’. Between 2007-9 in order to stabilise banking, that debt was dumped on governments. She judges that the austerity policies of each main UK party which focus on public debt as the chief problem will fail. She is not alone. This week the IMF sees an ‘alarmingly high’ risk of a deeper global slump. Instead of austerity Ann proposes capital controls, taxes on the movement of money out of the country, control on the creation of credit and control of the rate of interest.
A constant theme was that we needed massive investment in renewable energy to combat climate change. Tackling climate change will help tackle the economic crisis. As Lord Stern said in his Review on the Economics of Climate Change “Climate change is the greatest example of market failure we have ever seen”.
Danielle Paffard, co-founder of ‘Move your Money’, led the following workshop. She had realised “all my money is fundamentally undermining my values” and with friends is determined to make it easier for people to invest in the local, real and green economy creating sustainable surpluses. Since January 500,000 people have moved their money.
George Barda spoke and led a lively workshop on the Occupy movement and the need for direct action.
There were many other workshops, and this gave people opportunities what was being done in the region and how things could be scaled up, and the need to not do things in isolation.
The event was closed by Chris Baugh, Deputy General secretary of the PCS union, and Peter Robinson chairperson of Derby Climate Coalition. They stressed the need to build bridges between environmentalists and trade unionists. And that it needs a strong united movement with lots of organisations on the ground to force the Government to change policy.
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