Other Economic Summit (TOES) and
the New Economics Foundation
first TOES meeting was held in London in parallel with the 1984
annual G7 meeting of the Group of Seven richest industrial countries.
It attracted considerable attention at the time. Looking back
now, we can see it as a significant forerunner of the growing
social justice and new economics movements which now campaign
constructively around the world for socially and environmentally
benign development, and which some people think of as part of
the "anti-globalisation" movement.
and I were involved in TOES from before the start, and then in
the New Economics Foundation (NEF) which came out of it two years later.
In its first ten years or so, NEF played an absorbing part in our
life, and we have continued to be associated with it.
section of the website provides a personal perspective. The narrative
summary that follows lists some of the particular papers, articles
and speeches I wrote or gave for TOES and NEF. I will be glad
if they become one contribution to an eventual New Economics archive,
bringing together a range of personal perspectives from many of
the people who have taken part in this pioneering initiative.
1983 we were living in Ironbridge, Shropshire when the following
letter arrived at "Spring Cottage", our little house
looking south over the Severn Gorge.
text of a letter of 25th October from Jonathon Porritt and the
first of its three enclosed Ecology Party papers.
It asked if we would help the Ecology Party to set up an Alternative
Economic Summit. I am grateful to Jonathon for agreeing to this
being published. The hard-copy original is in his handwriting.
of the original members of the Steering Committee which came into
existence soon afterwards were friends and contacts of ours, with
whom we had worked over the previous ten years through Turning
Point and in other ways. We were all immensely fortunate
in having Paul Ekins as Director of TOES and then NEF. Without
him the impact we made over the next three years would not have
1984 was held on 6-10 June in London, close to the G7
meeting in Lancaster House. 170 people from 16 countries took
part, "representing the deep concern in our countries about
the continuing failure to confront the real economic problems
facing the world". A 40-page Report and Summary was published.
The Final Communique remains very relevant - unfortunately - to
the world's problems today (2004).
TOES 1984, one of the papers was my What
Comes After Full Employment?.
1985 captured the momentum generated by TOES 1984. It
was a three-day event on 16-19 April attended by 500 people from
20 countries in all five continents. Its main themes were Human
Needs, Economic Indicators and Targets, and Economic Self-Reliance.
These themes were explored with particular reference to Agriculture
(Day 1), Trade (Day 2), and Health (Day 3). The 46-page Report
and Summary, "New Economics 85", includes details of
the event, a draft agenda for economic recovery and world development,
and recommendations to the 1985 G7 Economic Summit in Bonn.
Health Day at TOES 1985 was sponsored by the World Health Organisation
as part of work I was then doing on the WHO strategy "Health
for All by the Year 2000". My Health,
Wealth & the New Economics was published
as a separate pamphlet. Of the four Appendices to the original text, the
downloadable text includes only Appendix 3 which deals specifically with the
subject of health
1986 in London on 17 April (following a Public Rally
the evening before) was a smaller, more specialist event focusing
on two specific topics, "International Economics and the
Environment" and "The Economics of Local Recovery".
The smaller scale reflected that the fact that Paul Ekins and
I would be going to Tokyo for the Japan TOES meeting, and that
The Living Economy (edited by Paul from the first two
years' TOES papers) would be published by Routledge & Kegan
Paul and launched later in the year at a special TOES conference
to be held in Leeds.
40-page published Report and Summary "TOES & TOKYO"
describes the TOES London event and our visit to Japan, including
the alternative proposal I presented for the island of Ishigaki
(near Okinawa) where an environmentally destructive airport on
a coral reef was planned.
launch of the New Economics Foundation in June and The Living
Economy in September 1986 marked a notable record of achievement
over the three-year period from October 1983. Paul Ekins reasonably
decided it was time for him to move to something less insecure
financially. He left TOES/NEF in February 1987 to do research
on new economics at Bradford University combined with work for
the Right Livelihood Foundation.
November 1986, in anticipation of Paul's departure, I had become
responsible for NEF's strategy and projects. I had in mind a collection
of projects under the broad heading "A New Economics by the
Year 2000". When we found we couldn't raise funding for it
for NEF, that idea turned into Future
Wealth: A New Economics for the 21st Century.
responsibility for strategy and projects meant quite a lot of
time on fund raising, and from January 1988 to June 1995 I managed
a project account for NEF at my bank. I had excellent support
from colleagues in NEF - for example from John Davis who was NEF's
chairman at the time and Francis Miller who was in the NEF office.
(John, after retiring from Shell, had worked with E.F. Schumacher
on appropriate technology for the UK. Francis now works as a small
business consultant and has helped me to set up this website.)
Others included Perry Walker and David Boyle, who both continue
to be active with NEF today.
project already in the pipeline at that time was a seminar on
"Future Cities" at Oxford Polytechnic in April 1987,
led by David Cadman. The papers, edited by him and Geoffrey Payne,
were published in 1990 by Routledge as The Living City: Towards
a Sustainable Future. Mine was on "Alternative Futures
projects during the following years included:
Economic Indicators", a book by Victor Anderson
by Routledge in 1991,
Local Initiatives", a conference at Wadham College,
in July 1987,
New Economics of Information", a seminar in London
Economic Teachings of World Faiths", 1987-1994.
information on the last three will be found in or accompanying
the relevant papers listed below.
Investment. I wrote this paper for the "Converging
Local Initiatives" conference at Wadham College, Oxford in
July - see next item.
: In Converging
on Local Self-Reliance I reported in "New Economics",
Issue four/Winter 1988, on a very productive NEF working conference
at Wadham College, Oxford in July 1987. Sixty invited participants
discussed how to link local economic revival with community initiatives
in the health and social sphere, and how to link both with a new
approach to social investment and local financial initiatives.
This conference prepared the ground for important NEF work in
The New Economics of Information, edited
by David Boyle, with cartoons by Rob Cowan and published by the
New Economics Foundation, was the report of a NEF seminar held
in October 1987. It included a paper by Tom Stonier, then a professor
at Bradford University, on "Information Revolution: its impact
on industrialised countries"; and a paper by Neville Jayaweera,
then Director of Studies and Planning at the World Association
for Christian Communication, on "The Third World: economic
and socio-cultural consequences of communication technology".
My paper on The
New Economics of Information: A Challenge for New Economics
summarised the issues the seminar had raised for the new economics
1990 was the first TOES held in the USA. President George
Bush senior, chairing the G7 meeting and in triumphant mood after
the collapse of Communism, declared that the 1990s would be 'the
Decade of Democracy'. My report on Where
Now, After Texas TOES? appeared in "New Economics".
1991 . It was time for TOES to come back to London after
its first 7-year cycle through the G7 countries. I gave a retrospective/
prospective introductory speech - Seven
A New Path. For the project on "Economic
Teachings of World Faiths" (1987-1994) - see above - we commissioned
the help of the International Consultancy on Religion, Education
and Culture (ICOREC). The project involved a number of meetings
and seminars with representatives of the faiths. Its outcomes
included a NEF conference of 300 people on "Faith, Ethics,
and a New Economic Order for the 21st Century" in London
in December 1989, publication of a classroom book for children,
a report on the December 1989 conference, a paper summarising
ICOREC's research findings, and a "Real Wealth" resource
pack on Faith and Economics.
hope of publishing a more authoritative book containing a 'challenge
paper' from the New Economics Foundation and contributions from
representatives of each Faith, as a resource for an international
meeting between faith representatives and world economic leaders,
was not realised. My proposed 'challenge paper' was entitled The
Economic Teachings of World Faiths: A New Path.
Economic Cooperation and Governance. I sent this
submission on behalf of NEF to the Independent International Commission
on Global Governance. It was about changes in the Bretton Woods
institutions and the UN that we had been discussing. The Commission's
1995 report "Our Global Neighbourhood" contains much
that remains very relevant.
1994: Benefits and Taxes: A Radical Strategy. This discussion paper proposes three years of preparation and then a ten-year programme for the introduction of a Citizen's Income (basic income), combined with a shift to taxing land values and energy instead of taxing incomes, profits and value added.
For some years I had known there were good arguments for a basic income (or National Dividend) and for land-value taxation. More recently the case for energy and other environmental taxation had also grown stronger. By 1994 I felt the time had come to explore how a combination of these reforms might be introduced. The money numbers in the paper are out of date after ten years. But, as more people continue to become aware of the practical, ethical and political arguments for these reforms, some of them may find the paper's approach helpful.
By the later 1990s I realised that there was also a strong case for monetary reform, not only on its own practical merits but also because it would reflect the same principle as the Benefits and Taxes reforms - that the value of 'common resources' should be a source of public revenue to be used on behalf of all citizens. That perception underlay the Alternative Mansion House Speech of June 2000 (see immediately below) and the paper for the Pio Manzu Conference in October 2003 on The Role of Money and Finance: Changing a Central Part of the Problem into a Central Part of the Solution.
and Monetary Policies for an Enabling State. This
was the first Alternative Mansion House speech. I gave it at an
event organised by the New Economics Foundation at the National
Portrait Gallery, London on 15 June, to launch publication of
Creating New Money: A
Monetary Reform for the Information Age.
items included here at present are a very small fraction of the
TOES/NEF section of our hard-copy Archive,
which includes :
correspondence and papers from 1983 onwards,
about specific TOES Meetings, 1984-1998,
about specific NEF conferences/seminars/projects which we organised
and helped to organise, and
early draft of "The Living Economy"; issues
Economics magazine/newsletter, etc; and a bundle of
my spell as a NEF trustee (1994-1996).