Andrew Simms: There are reasons for optimism

Andrew Simms

By Anders Lorenzen

We’re in Goodland, a place where its citizens write their own constitution, have a banking system that is community owned and its President gives 70% of his income away to the poorer in society, the country will have phased out fossil fuels by 2017 and operating a 100% renewable economy, it has an ecosystem law that overwrites any other law and the citizens grow their own organic food.

Anyone in touch with reality of course knows that such country does not exist, but at the Ecobuild conference early March author and fellow of the New Economics Foundation (NEF), Andrew Simms, laid out his vision of an imaginary economy that is also the message of his new book Cancel The Apocalypse.

Simms argues that the benefits the citizens of Goodland enjoy are actually real examples from the real world. Simms says:

  1. Uruguay’s president gives away 70% of his income to charity.
  2. The majority of Germany’s banks are small community owned banks.
  3. Bhutan runs its country with an ideology of a  gross domestic happiness instead of gross domestic consumption.

He says that is a different route to the business model in which United Kingdom, Chancellor George Osborne is going down. He holds the view that protection of the environment is a luxury that we can’t afford in our tough economic situation.

On the debate on the future of the street where retailer after retailer is closing down due to the increased trend to shop online, Simms says that we could remodel the high street as a place where we don’t come to shop but also come to live.

In China, he says, we have the best and the worst of two worlds. On one hand they build a new power station almost every day, and on the other they build more renewable capacity than any other place in the world.

His outlook for the future is optimistic, some countries are showing examples of leadership, but we have to get down to it and stop flying blind. Simms states that history has shown us when we really get down to it we can turn our economy around in a short period of time.

Who wouldn’t want to live in Andrew Simms imaginary economic world?

Andrew Simms was speaking at the Ecobuild conference, that took place in London 5th – 7th March 2013. His book Cancel The Apocalypse is out now and can be bought online.

Subedited by Charlotte Paton

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