William Morris: Wealth is What Nature Gives Us *** ONLINE ***
May 21, 2020 at 13:30 — 16:30 (BST)
[The Zoom link, meeting ID and password will be sent to all those registered at end of play on the 20th May]
Our economic system is retarding attempts to create environments that enable social and environmental well-being. Although there have undoubtedly been improvements over the years we are witnessing a period increasing economic inequality, precarious work, and a wide range of existential insecurities and threats. With the strong likelihood of impending catastrophic climate change and devastating biodiversity loss, it is clear that fundamental and systemic changes to the way we live our lives and do business are required.
We need to take serious action at a range of levels. We need to develop new ways of making decisions that lever massive change which will ensure that people, communities and the wider ecological environment can survive and flourish into the future. The imperatives of economic growth and illiberal democracy need to be replaced by economic well-being, deep democracy, responsible technology, ecological stewardship, liveable cities, good health, meaningful work, and a beautiful world to live in.
13.30 Session One: William Morris and the Well-Being Economy
Introduction - Presentation and discussion on William Morris’s views on well-being, private property, technology, work, the economy and the instinct for freedom (John Blewitt)
14.15 Session Two: Levering Change in a Time of Crisis
The well-being economy in a global context. The value of systems thinking. Tools for structural change. Politics of political ecology. (Jenneth Parker/Ian Roderick)
15.00 Break and informal chats
15.15 Session Three: Practical action - multi-scalar approach
Introduction to Discussion groups on different themes such as - food growing, cultural diversity, meaningful work, clean community energy, local economic development and decision making, ecological regeneration, sustainable finance, etc JP, JDB + IR
16.00 Session Four: Feedback, action points, research options, and future actions.
16.25 Summary and Dissemination John Blewitt & Jenneth Parker
John Blewitt is a Distinguished Fellow of the Schumacher Institute, editor of William Morris and John Ruskin A New Road on Which the World Should Travel (University of Exeter Press, 2019), author of William Morris and the Instinct for Freedom (Merlin Press, 2019) and Understanding Sustainable Development, 3rd edition (Routledge, 2018)
Jenneth Parker is Research Director at the Schumacher Institute and author of Critiquing Sustainability, Changing Philosophy (Routledge, 2014)
Ian Roderick is Director of the Schumacher Institute
Book deal - News from Nowhere by John Blewitt
Much loved in his own era, William Morris has inspired prime ministers, artists and eco-socialists.
Ferociously opposed to capitalism and inequality, he sought to embrace humanity with passion, commitment, energy and belief, working vigorously for a free, green and non-hierarchical future. All this - with his distrust of conventional politicians and his belief that people can and must change the world - resonates in social movement politics and the wider society today.
This book offers a fresh perspective: a transhistorical approach presenting Morris's libertarian politics through exploring his intellectual and cultural heritage and considering practical-political issues, actions and aims. Today we see how class intersects with gender, politics with technology and economics, ecology with industry and economics, art with history. John Blewitt shows how these - and more - intersect with each other and with power, domination, resistance, emergence and transcendence. Morris helps us grapple with these challenges offering an ethics and a politics embracing socialism, communism, anarchism, environmentalism and feminism.
Hark the rolling of the thunder!
Lo the sun! and lo thereunder
Riseth wrath, and hope, and wonder,
And the host comes marching on.
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