The New Ism: Creating a fairer economy fit for the modern world

The current economic system is broken. The answer is not to continue patching it up, but to be bold and create a new one – a New Ism.

The global economy is no longer fit for purpose

The concept for The New Ism is a simple one. The global economy is no longer fit for the modern world. The rich get richer while the poor get poorer and the gap between them continues to grow larger. Money goes to money. People are thirsting for a new, fairer system which rewards genuine hard work and enterprise, and not just wealth.

Adam Smith is widely credited with creating the theory behind capitalism. When he wrote ‘Wealth of Nations’ in 1776, he did not imagine the current global capitalism system. He envisaged money as a way of enhancing society and making it work for all. He had a clear philosophy but his philosophy is now out of date – indeed, we live in a ‘post-capitalist’ world. Karl Marx’s communist philosophy was altogether different and is also irrelevant for our modern world.

No one is coming up with an alternative solution

In recent times, many economists have been critical of the current capitalist system but have failed to come up with a credible replacement. At best, they set out how they would improve the system rather than changing it completely; we end up with a system which feeds on itself. Even former US president Bill Clinton famously claimed “it’s the economy, stupid” as part of his election campaign – it was popular with voters but he didn’t offer any alternative system.

In truth, no-one has come up with an alternative, but an alternative credible system is urgently needed.

People are already innovating to solve the world’s problems

So, what to do? The aim of The New Ism is to create this new system. We don’t have the answer right now, but people around the world are already putting into practice values and methodologies which we believe are important building blocks.

The plan is to capture those interventions through our podcasts, blogs and talks by listening to these people who are practically involved in creating solutions to society’s problems. Take the concept of Fair Trade as an example. It is a simple idea: consumers buy products under the Fair Trade label which indicates that the producers have been paid fairly for their labour and goods. People trust the brands associated with Fair Trade and are happy to pay a premium in the knowledge that their purchase is helping to make a difference and create a better world. So, is Fair Trade one of the essential building blocks to a new economic system. Shouldn’t all trade be fair trade? And wouldn’t that make a huge difference to producers – and their communities – across the world?

Other examples include micro-finance – where micro loans help people to lift themselves out of poverty, and impact investing, where investors look for measurable social outcomes. These two systems could form the basis of a completely new banking and financial services sector.

The New Ism will bring these people and their innovations together

There are many people all over the world trying to make a difference by using these innovative new models, and doing so successfully. But they are not connecting to create a new economic model – understandably, given the scale of the problems they are tackling. Yes, they are impactful and successful but they are very focused and often local – and their ideas aren’t embraced as norms by society at large.

But these ideas are the potential building blocks for a New Ism. We will bring together the voices and ideas of these people and begin to shape what a new economy might look like, from the bottom up. An economy which is based on the values of the people who are working at the coalface in order to bring about change in a fair, sustainable way.

We will take account of the views of established economists, academics and theorists, but they won’t be involved at the core of what we are doing.

A new paradigm, created collaboratively

This is a very exciting project. On a regular basis we will pull these concepts together to create a draft of what the new economic system might look like. For sure, the first draft won’t come up with the new theory but we will keep going by listening to more and more voices and creating more and more drafts, until we hit that eureka moment when we have created a new economic theory which people, businesses and governments all over the world can buy into. It’s ambitious and it’s idealistic, but it’s also realistic – just like those people already doing it, right now, all over the world.

We are not of the Left or the Right or the Centre. We are none of these because we recognise that we need a completely new paradigm and a new way of thinking.

Tune in and please contribute – we want to hear as many views and ideas as possible. We have just one rule – we are only looking for positive contributions. Negativity is not allowed – there’s plenty of that already.

Let’s make the world a better and fairer place for everyone.


Listen to Mel’s episode of The New Ism podcast here.

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