Fri 22 Aug 2014 – Exploring The Common Weal

So Wiped Out With Things As They Are

Exploring The Common Weal


With Robin McAlpine, Peter Arnott, Jenny Lindsay, Laura Eaton-Lewis, Hector MacInnes.

In today’s session, hosted by David Greig and Peter Arnott, we investigated The Common Weal, with Robin McAlpine (director of The Common Weal), music from Hector MacInnes calling for land reform and 1000 huts in the wilderness, a storming poem by Jenny Lindsay about the realities of life in the UK called ‘England, We Need to Talk About Britain’, and a polemic from myself explores the fallacy of the liberalist economic narrative.

A world-first, The Common Weal is a project which takes over fifty independent reports by leading academics and professional leaders to form an evidence-based, big-picture proposal for a future Scotland which places All of Us First. Only tried and tested approaches and policies are included in this book, so it is a pragmatic plan for a social democratic society which exists in the real world. Robin McAlpine explains how the Common Weal approach works within a liberalist market by maximising the wealth of our society by focusing on mutual efforts for 90% and market competition for the remaining 10%.

It’s an extraordinary body of work, and prompts the question ‘If these policies are successful why do we not already have the infrastructure proposed by the Common Weal?’ In today’s provocation, I explain that ‘We could have universal economic measures such as a citizen’s income that would value all the invisible work of women, the disabled, the underemployed, so why don’t we? Ask the tories. Thatcher’s government researched the possibility in the 70s and discovered it is cheaper than the current benefits system. It’s more efficient, so why don’t we have it? Perhaps it’s because it would show that the conservative mindset is based on a myth, and who knows where that might lead … real change? But surely animal spirits, competition and higher financial reward for higher performance makes us all stronger, makes us all strive more, yes? They don’t.

The facts on the biggest myth of our times: financial incentives don’t motivate us to perform better, in fact, financial reward makes us perform more badly.

Laura Eaton-Lewis