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Thursday
Apr232015

Jubilee economics

The economy is a complex system, not a series of separate functions -- meaning that initiatives to grow and improve it require systemic approaches. One such approach was outlined in a recent Guardian op-ed.

In that piece, Alex Evans and Richard Gower promote the idea of a new civic campaign -- based on the Jubilee Debt Campaign that helped foster the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in 2000 -- that promotes environmental sustainability and the reduction of economic inequality. The MDG debt campaign has been tremendously successful, as low-income countries’ debt has fallen from 69% of their national income in 2000 to 29% today.

Evans and Gower make the case that the inspiration for the 2000 campaign, the biblical tradition of the Jubilee, involved more than just debt relief.  The Jubilee required resting agricultural lands, granting freedom to all, and re-allocations of long-term assets every 49-50 years. Drawing parallels with the present, they note

"Living within environmental limits, ensuring everyone can meet their basic needs, and keeping inequality from getting out of hand – are at the heart of the sustainable development agenda."

What do you think of this concept? Our Economics of Mutuality initiative is also based on the principle that business can and should create mutual benefits across a full spectrum of measures: financial, social and environmental. We are interested in understanding the most effective way to engage and promote these ideas;  is a civic initiative based on Jubilee traditions the way to go?

-- Bruno Roche

 

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