community power

Economic recovery and reform: the role of community power

This article originally appeared in the MJ

Long before the Covid-19 pandemic, our economy was failing many people and the planet. The imperative then was to create an economy that serves our needs, and shares wealth amongst as many people as possible. This imperative has only been amplified by the situation in which we now find ourselves. We believe the surge in community power in response to Covid-19 harbours the key to building back a better economy.

The recent upsurge in social solidary has been impressive with millions of acts of kindness taking place every day. Within days of the NHS volunteer scheme being announced, over 750,000 people had signed up. The Covid-19 Mutual Aid movement has mobilised 2.5 million people across the UK who are now working with community groups to deliver emergency food parcels.

An economy for all: the role of community power

Tom Lloyd Goodwin discusses the “community paradigm” and how we are seeking to challenge the ideas that underpin it in our new publication: An economy for all: the role of community power.

Inclusive economies are about growing community and democratic ownership forms within the private sector economy.
Recently, however, there has been a resurgence of ideas that see a greater role for the community in commissioning and delivering public services.  The central claim is that the state and the market are both discredited and are unable to tackle injustices and stem rising public service demand. As such, it is proposed that communities are best placed to “take control”, leading to the emergence of a new “community paradigm”. Echoing ideas reminiscent of David Cameron’s “big society”, this has been posited as a solution to the conjoined issues of less public money and growing social need.
“The ideas posited by the community paradigm have dangerous flaws.”
While it is true that we must genuinely empower citizens and communities and that they must have a decent say in how our public services are run, the ideas posited by the community paradigm have dangerous flaws.