I am a member of a small group which meets in Walthamstow every 6 weeks or so to share reading, research and ideas to help us understand the banking system, the economy and possibilities for change. This group was originally inspired by, and affiliated to, Positive Money* who offer a very clear analysis of the ways in which our current financial system creates debt, unaffordable housing and growing inequality. As our group expanded, we found the quality of mutual support and shared learning was compromised when people came along with different agendas or different ideas about the purpose of the group. Most of us are already members of organisations or political parties which are open to all comers and where we expect to engage in arguments about priorities, points of view and strategies for action. But, we also want a space to expose our ignorance, to express uncertainty, to listen to each other and to try articulating and exploring complex ideas in a supportive group. We have therefore re-constituted ourselves as the Walthamstow Economics Reading Group. If you would like to join us, please email Walthamstowerg@groups.io for details of forthcoming meetings and topics.
*Positive Money is a campaigning organisation, committed to pursuing a particular agenda for reform which we have been examining critically, while exploring alternatives. This is set out in the book, Modernising Money, by Andrew Jackson and Ben Dyson, which helped to initiate the first back-bench debate on money creation for over 100 years. We recommend the videos on the Positive Money web site for an accessible introduction to their analysis and their proposals for change. You can find details of local Positive Money groups on their web site.
Previous activities and discussions have included (Click on links for members' notes):
Local Politics The group provides a safe place for us to try out ideas and presentations before taking them to a wider audience. January 2016 - one of our members presented his notes on the question, "What is Anti-Austerity Economics?", with reference to Positive Money. He is planning to present this to a Constituency Labour Party meeting in February. December 2014 - two of us met with Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy, Labour shadow minister for consumer affairs, who was familiar with the Positive Money analysis but believed that their proposals for reforming banks were unlikely to succeed. Stella was sceptical about the possibility of parliament taking a greater degree of control over money creation and achieving change on the monolithic scale suggested by Positive Money. She talked about small businesses, popular movements and alternative currencies. She recommended reading Roberto Unger, joining the Co-op and supporting Credit Unions.