|Launch Panel (alas my only shot!)|
- Anyone who suggests that the book is an attack on the government or is party political is completely wrong, and missing the point.
- The financial collapse happened because people borrowed money they didn't have to buy things they didn't need.
- The consumer society is a mechanism for creating and distributing unhappiness.
- We should move away from talking about "benefits" to talking about "social insurance".
- The focus should be on wellbeing not the "Welfare State"
- Focus on sustainable growth.
- Shared prosperity. In particular the tax system should be redesigned.
- Responsible business. Not just regulation but through climate of opinion and investor pressure.
Ruth Fox thought there needed to be more thoughtful engagement with politics. She spoke of "less democracy and more accountability" but I don't think she has taken on board Amartya Sen's point that democracy isn't primarily about voting but about public discussion.
- began by saying that he had been at a meeting with Jean Vanier the founder of L'Arche who said that "living with the weak transforms the strong and helps them be more human." By actually helping people who are less fortunate (not just handing them money) we are made better people and society is improved.
- He called for a People Centred Economy not Economy Centred People.
- He spoke of the dangers of democracy being subverted by a Vetocracy where powerful versted interests can block change that is not in their narrow interest (thinking particularly of powerful donors in the US but the point is much wider).
- that all human beings are of equal worth in God's sight.
- that both children and adults will flourish only in the context of a well-ordered society, and a society is well-ordered only if it offers all its members ways of flourishing.
- that flourishing requires both a measure of security in the face of typical human needs, and a measure of openness to individual creativity and initiative.
- that work is not merely a means to secure what we need to consume, but a form of communication with other people which dignifies us as individuals and draws us together in community.
So on balance an excellent initiative and a very interesting book, which should be the beginning of a process and not the end.
I also had the great pleasure of meeting Betty Boothroyd - a great lady!