The biggest issues facing our communities, from the escalating climate crisis to housing insecurity, are rooted in and shaped by our current economic systems.
Yet most of us feel excluded and alienated from economic policy and unable to influence the economy around us.
This means that we often don’t have the tools we need to address the root causes of some of the biggest and most urgent problems that we face.
We need to come together to develop a shared understanding and analysis of how economic systems work to build the power of our communities and create economic change.
People’s Economy works with those at the sharpest end of the economy to shape a fairer, more sustainable alternative together.
Why change is needed
Our economy, both within the UK and worldwide, is currently set up to reproduce and deepen inequalities and environmental harm.
Therefore, societies must rapidly reimagine and structurally transform their economies to meet everyone’s needs – within planetary boundaries – and allow future generations to flourish, regardless of their gender, race, background or birthplace.
We have three principles which we believe a ‘good economy’ should achieve:
Distributes and decentralises economic decision-making power widely, providing mechanisms for participation and accountability.
Reduces socioeconomic inequality, repairs historical harm and dismantles systems of oppression such as racism, sexism and elitism so that everybody can have an equal chance in life.
Operates within the natural and environmental limits of the planet while meeting everybody’s needs.
Who leads the way
It’s important to us to be run by and for people experiencing economic injustice.
Every day all over the UK, people are working to change things and keep themselves and their communities afloat.
These are the people who are on the front line of dealing with the harm the current economic system is creating.
But we know that these are the groups who are often already doing the work of organising things differently. They won’t always be consciously connecting this change work to the underlying economic system. Perhaps that is because it feels like it can’t be changed, or because there isn’t enough time or resources, or because the knowledge feels hard to access, or because of feeling isolated.
That’s where People’s Economy comes in. We aim to build power together – by supporting the process of making economic links and communicating them, connecting with others and supporting movements to grow.
What we’re doing now
We support communities experiencing economic injustice to:
— imagine, understand, analyse and plan the economic change they want to see
— take action to empower themselves and their communities, build alternatives and influence dominant institutions.
We also develop and spread practice that facilitates effective bottom-up economic change work across government, media and new economy organisations.
Learn more about our different areas of work below.
1 Facilitating deep learning journeys
We have run courses and workshops across the UK for over a thousand people, supporting and empowering them to understand, reimagine and change the economy.
Our community education builds practical knowledge, skills and confidence around economic concepts that underpin the most pressing social issues of today — from housing to climate change,
migration and the cost of living. Through stories and reflection we make economics accessible and relevant to people’s lives.
Together, we can build a shared analysis of the economic root causes of pressing issues, and develop strategies to shift the economy so that it better meets our needs and priorities.
2 Outreach, engagement and making connections
We build deep relationships with people across the UK who are experiencing economic injustice and working to achieve social, environmental and political change but not currently linking their work to the economy.
We highlight the connections between issues which matter to them and the economy, and facilitate links with others creating change to build practical engagement with new economy organisations and explore opportunities for long-term collaboration.
We also facilitate practical, focused engagement with economic decision makers.
3 Building a community media infrastructure
As part of our ‘Voices of the Economy’ project, our editorial team co-produce written and video content (comment, analysis, local news) with grassroots changemakers for social, local and national media.
We are working with media partners to develop, test and scale this work into a flexible and sustainable infrastructure which facilitates changemakers creating multimedia content to become authentic and trusted public voices on the economy.
We run our own news and entertainment platform (ecnmy.org) that is modelling a new way to teach economic concepts and report economic news. We are also directly delivering this content through our newsletter.
4 Shaping economic decision making
We believe economic policymaking should be a discussion about what we value and how to achieve it. That requires more citizen participation and deliberation in the media, economic institutions, academic research and politics. We are working with these institutions and decision makers to explore how we can build more participatory approaches to economic decision making at local and national levels.
We’re currently delivering a six-month pilot partnership with the Bank of England to engage their Citizens’ Reference Panel and Youth Forum community members online in a vibrant and inclusive conversation about the economy.
5 Place-based projects
Since 2019 we have been supporting people in local communities across the West Midlands – particularly those furthest from power – to shape the economy to achieve what matters to them.
This forms part of a five year regional strategy to engage local economic decision-makers, media organisations and communities to achieve bottom-up and top-down change. It takes a place-based approach, meaning it recognises the places in which we live and work influence what we do and determine many of our relationships.
Our approach builds on existing work in the region and is led by the priorities, needs and strengths of the communities and civil society organisations we partner with. This involves:
- Reframing what the economy is and how it relates to our lives to spark curiosity and learn about what economic issues matter to people;
- Empowering people to lead their own conversations asking what people want, need and would be prepared to do to improve their local economy;
- Influencing local media strategies to build engaging coverage of local economic issues that connects to people’s everyday lives;
- Building towards more participatory forms of economic policymaking by facilitating two-way conversations between communities, economic experts and decision makers to increase mutual understanding and strengthen relationships.
If you would like to find out more about this work, or to get involved, get in touch with clare.birkett[at]ecnmy.org