We need a brand new systematic approach to the economy, said Sir Ian Cheshire at this year's Eco technology show in Brighton.
He highlighted the dichotomy currently slicing society in two: those who are hopeful as we build once more in the wake of recession, and those who despair at the rate at which we are depleting social and natural capital. It is precisely for this reason, Sir Ian says, that we need a new economic paradigm.
"Much of the growth we have experienced in the UK since the 1980s has not been distributed equally, which has in turn undermined the stability of our society," he argued.
"The long-term stability of our planet is threatened by rising carbon emissions, pollution, extreme weather events, increased resource scarcity and a decline in the richness and robustness of our natural world. This is undermining our food, water, resource and energy security, and climate stability."
According to Sir Ian, these are all results of our pursuit of short-term economic growth, yet he is still hopeful for the future.
"What lies behind the social, environmental and economic challenges we are facing is a systemic failure, rather than a large number of isolated hurdles. The failing system is our economy, driven by a growth model that no longer meets society's needs." By changing this model, he says, we can easily create a healthy, resilient and prosperous economy.
To enable this, the Aldersgate Group is launching a new initiative called "An Economy That Works" with the aim addressing Britain's current economic paradigm.
By identifying and promoting the policy changes that will enable the UK to create a sustainable economy, it is hoped that "An Economy That Works" will be the first step towards long term prosperity.
According to the group's research, an economy that works boasts six core characteristics: high unemployment, equality of opportunity, wellbeing at the core, low carbon, zero waste, and an enhancing nature.
However, achieving all six of these is a lengthy process. To aid the transition, four key enablers need to be in place, enablers which over time will ease the British economy into long-term prosperity:
- Long term: Removing the chronic short-termism that too often prevents the right economic decisions from being made by business leaders and politicians.
- Innovative: Constant innovation, and the ability to exploit this innovation, will remain critical.
- Inclusive: Including the voices, skills, knowledge and networks of all active participants in an economy ensures that societal goals are shared – and strengthened.
- Strong communities: Change happens fastest when individuals work together, whether in geographical communities or through communities of interest.
Do you agree? Can you think of anything else that would aid economic recovery? To find out more and to download a copy of "An Economy That Works" visit its official site.