An enquiry about an alternative sustainable economic policy

Announcement of a Conference on 11 September 2014,
Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow



A partnership of environmental, social justice, trade union and civic organisations in Scotland has established the need for a different direction for economic policy if we are to achieve our objectives of a sustainable and equitable Scotland. We seek to address the need for a coherent set of policies, which are sufficient to set our economy on a route to social and environmental justice. At present this partnership includes Friends of the Earth Scotland, Oxfam Scotland, UNISON Scotland, Christian Aid Scotland, Stop Climate Chaos Scotland, Scottish Trade Union Congress, World Development Movement, GMB Scotland, Jubilee Scotland, the New Economics Foundation and the Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow.

We continue to suffer a sluggish and unbalanced economy, high unemployment, rising inequality and poverty. Hanging over us are the failure to protect ourselves from climate change and resource depletion; and the threat of future crises in the financial system. Yet public discourse about the economy remains dominated by the orthodox models which, through their dominance of economy policy, arguably have contributed to the creation of these problems. The scarcity in national debates of voices that explain that these problems are caused by, rather than incidental to, our dominant economic model, and that there are practical and viable alternative economic strategies, is a core part of the problem.

The challenges posed are how can greater collective, public and democratic control be exercised over our economy and its financial systems so that we can secure a prosperous and fair livelihood without damaging our environment? How can we ensure the investments we need and prevent those which damage us and our world? In addition certain analytical challenges need to be tackled, in particular concerning growing financialisation, the questioning of limits to continuing economic growth, and the appropriate ways of dealing with environmental impacts and resource limits.

Accordingly papers are requested which address one or more of the following questions:

1. What are the best ways of ensuring the large-scale investment needed into projects that will create rewarding jobs, cut pollution and greenhouse gas emissions and reduce poverty?

2. How do we distinguish between paths of economic development that create well-being and environmental sustainability, decoupling growth from resource use; and those which do the opposite?

3. How can we most effectively extend public democratic controls over our economy and the financial sector so that it serves our ends?

4. How can we reverse the accelerating trend towards deepening inequalities in income and wealth?

Abstracts should be no more that 250 words and should explain how they address one or more of the questions above. Papers should address issues of both policy and theory and explain how the latter informs the former.

Please send abstracts to


Submission of abstracts 16 June 2014

Notification of acceptance of abstracts 30 July 2014

Further information:
Matthew Crighton, Chair, Friends of the Earth Scotland,
Professor Andrew Cumbers, Adam Smith Business School, University of Glasgow,