Tag Archives: Economics

Whither libraries?

Too old, too big…too little used?

Article update: 28.10.2017  – A really sound article on the utility of libraries by Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett –  No one needs libraries any more? What rubbish  from The Guardian of Thursday, 26th October, 2017.

In it Cosslet takes to task the political pundit Andre Walker, for his omnipotent vision of the library service in the UK. Namely that no-one visits them anymore and they should all be closed down and the books given to schools.

Is there something Presidential in this decimation of the library service by Twitter?

Rhiannon goes on to thread her story with her use of the public library when young – developing intellectual curiosity, cultural awareness, knowledge of the world and taking up the rich opportunity public libraries offer to graze the landscape of the word, six books at a  time.

We recommend the article to our readers.


Original text: In the Spring of 2015 the Adam Smith Institute published an article entitled ‘The End of Local Authority Libraries‘. As the economic ice age of Osbornian austerity descended upon us, the Press was full of cultural turbulence about the closure and operational rigidity of our national literacy assets.

Although the general  Press attention has diminished, it is telling that the dilution of the library service has continued unabated, albeit with increasingly diminished media currency, as we have been further overwhelmed by matters of political moment in and about Europe, perhaps.

View, print or download the full report here…pdf

Central government, arguably, remains enthusiastic and espouses a positive vison for the library service. The recent report Libraries Deliver: Ambition for Public Libraries in England 2016-2021 from the Libraries Taskforce, is almost entirely upbeat about the half decade ahead. They offer a vision of a multiplicity of supported delivery systems for a local library in section 6.3 of the report.

The website Public Libraries News, in July, declared that now ‘there are at least five hundred libraries that are staffed, if not entirely run by volunteers’. On the one hand, this is a sign, we would argue, that there is profound suport for the local library at grassroots level. But it is also a sign, looking at the plethora of continual changes and negative reviews of library services across the country on the website, that there is no clear, effective and equally profound form of new governance emerging for libraries.

One that, at once taps into localism, yet satisfies the need for an eclectic and near universal access to knowledge and leisure, free at the point of delivery for those who need it most.

The trade union Unison are to hold a National SOS Day on the 19th of October, 2017. Save our Services is designed to show that ‘...libraries are a hub and a haven in our communities. They offer a place for people to work, relax, discover and think.They are a source of local knowledge and history and give everyone access to books, DVDs, music and more, for free or at a very low cost.

But libraries also do a lot more than lend books. Many hold events, anything from story time for children to yoga classes for adults. Library workers help people look for work, advise on using IT, organise talks by authors and so much more‘.

Source: https://www.unison.org.uk/blogs/2017/08/sos-day-17/

The debate, then, continues to have currency. The Adam Smith Institute argued, in its article by Eamonn Butler, that the free market was the solution to the ‘library deficit’ issue, as to be expected. That exemplars of library innovation, in the shape of American organisations such as Library Systems and Services, were to be the saviours of a moribund library market.

However, research shows that the accession of LSSI to the pinnacle of library stewardship has not been entirely successful in the USA. An earlier article in the New York Times shows how both library staff and users, even in the more affluent cities where LSSI has obtained contracts, have been happy to lead protests. Dissenting voices to the ending of  unionised services, diminution of book stocks and antagonism towards the ethics of ‘libraries for profit’.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/27/business/27libraries.html

The City Library, Birmingham

The Butler argument, from the Adam Smith Institute, saw the then new Birmingham City Library building as an example of ossification of service. The £188 million building began to operate on a ‘self-funded’ basis for events, for example, in the context of author events or arts activity. Both previously seen as draws to footfall for the library service. Indeed key activities in a wider cultural obligation for libraries, we would argue.

However, debate about the capital cost of a building in austere times is one thing, but the Institute author’s position somewhat fails to recognise that it is free market policies which have led to the very fiscal landscape that has so diminished the library service.

If a library is battered by exogenous fiscal policy upheaval, it is somewhat unfair to blame the librarian for lack of service, or diversity in activity, surely?

Is there hope for change? We think so.

We were pleased to see that there is widening acceptance by Councils that the community should have control of libraries as a community resource. At the beginning of August, for example, Derby City Council declared for the cessation of control of ten libraries, which will see ‘…the loss of at least 39 library assistants’ jobs and two library managers, of almost 100 staff who work for the authority. Community groups will get £17,500 a year each to fund their own managed libraries until 2022…’

Source: http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/news/derby-news/attempt-stop-biggest-ever-shake-265614

What is concerning, in this case, is the timetable and the level of grant in aid ceded to the community organisations in the City, to effectively manage the transfer and creation of a new community organisation to deliver the service.

More positively again, Bury Council this month have approved a new community asset transfer plan. ‘The new policy means applications from groups to buy community assets from the council will be considered against ‘key tests’ designed to ensure a deal which is best for the council and residents‘. The landscape of community opportunity grows!

Source: http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk/news/15439093.New_policy_hopes_to_make_it_easier_for_groups_to_take_ownership_of_council_buildings/

However, it is entirely possible, we would argue, to imagine the creation of community libraries as Social Enterprises, where the not for profit governance model delivers a mix of volunteer and employee led services, bolstered by an admixture of social business services to support and maintain the core library provision.

A community cafe, a learning centre, a gardening or horticultural project…the list could easily be imaginatively extended by a dynamic, active community. The whole focused upon the creation of ‘…a place for people to work, relax, discover and think‘, to remind us of the Unison observation.

If the trade union are having an SOS Day, why do we not start a new think-tank movement, LASER – Libraries as Social Enterprise Renewal.

Write to conversationsEAST if you are interested in social enterprise, passionate about libraries and learning and keen to develop governance-sound, community led, not for profit library buildings.

We’ll publish a web site, host a meeting and give the idea traction?


Additional narrative – 20.08.2017

Read more here…

We have just come across a recent article in Wired by Susan Crawford, where she argues for a resurgence in phiilanthropy to revitalise the library service.

In the text, in response to a recent tweet by Jeff Bezos asking for suggestions about a new shape for his giving, she argues for an Amazon/Bezos programme of giving to libraries.

Developing Jeff Bezos’s current long term view of his ‘social investments’ towards, arguably, a philanthropic delivery that would cater for the short and the long term. Mr. Bezos describes his search for a new intitiative ‘…to help people in the here and now’. Our new library programme, as described, would do that, but also cater for the long term too.

Namely a series of Amazon Memorial Libraries, or Bezos Community Cultural Centres, would benefit the communities they were placed in, but they would also create new readers and enhance human capital in the hinterland of their sites, as well as delivering a major philosophical boost to the image of Amazon as a socially beneficial company.

You can read Susan Crawford’s piece on the pages of Wired here.

We understand Jeff Bezos reads every email sent directly to him. We’ll write to Mr. Bezos and make a suggestion supporting a new philanthropic venture into the British library landscape, and explore the models that might be created.

We would argue that history has been kind to the Carnegie model of library establishment, why should not future generations look as kindly upon Jeff Bezos?

Watch this space for an update, even if we don’t get a reply!


Useful links to accompany this article:

Library over-watch!

http://www.publiclibrariesnews.com/

Use it or lose it! – The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/aug/16/library-use-in-england-fell-dramatically-over-last-decade-figures-show

City Library Birmingham: Image by Gareth Williams - Creative Commons

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Making new friends in Europe?

European Week of Regions & Cities
Brussels 9-12th October 2017

European Week of Regions & Cities Brussels 9-12th October 2017
European Week of Regions & Cities Brussels 9-12th October 2017

A wide ranging sequence of workshops and event in Brussels, that will attract academics, poiticians and business organisations. We think there are elemental workshops that those of us, working in the social economy, will find useful.

Particularly useful is the opportunity to build new networks of contacts ahead of the social, political and economic schism that awaits us in the UK.

Apply online NOW!

Who should take part?

The European Week of Regions and Cities and its workshops, debates and networking activities are addressed to:

  • members of the European Committee of the Regions, members of the European Parliament and national, regional and local politicians;
  • European, national, regional and local government officials and experts in the field of managing and evaluating cohesion policy programmes;
  • representatives of private companies, financial institutions and European and national associations;
  • journalists from European, national, regional and local media outlets;
  • researchers, PhD or masters students and practitioners in the field of European regional and urban policy.

The typical participant is from the regional or local administration and new to the event, and is travelling to Brussels specifically for the event.


Discover now the 130 workshops, networking events and project visits organised in Brussels as part the 15th European Week of Regions and Cities!

Under the headline ‘Regions and cities working for a better future’, the programme tackles three main themes:

  • Building resilient regions and cities – #LocalResilience
  • Regions and cities as change agents – #TakeAction
  • Sharing knowledge to deliver results – #SharingKnowledge.

28 partnerships of regions and cities, 14 Directorates-General of the European Commission, several networks, associations and other institutions have partnered up for it. The Opening session takes place on 9th October in the European Parliament.


You can see the registration information and register on-line here.

An example of workshops across the event include:

  • The regional dimension of inequality: territorial policy responses in a rapidly changing economic environment
  • Territorial cohesion in the ’Brexit era’
  • Communities as change agents: local development in the EU beyond 2020
  • An alternative for the future: Silver Economy for cities and regions
  • Towards an online #cohesionalliance?
  • Boosting digital skills for youth employment: a challenge for regions and cities
  • Circular Cities: helping cities and regions to implement the circular economy

See more here

We look forward to making new friends in Europe and building bridges we can cross in the future.

Image: Creative Commons
“brussels” by edward stojakovic is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Distances travelled and a New Year

We are always excited about books and book production in the conversationsEast office. In 2016 we seemed to have a very ‘bookish’ year all in all.

We enjoyed a visit to Seven Stories in Newcastle to look at the development of an author and the creation of the written artefact through the work of Michael Mopurgo. See more here.

We also happily supported the a new issue of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica, an endeavour delivered across the globe from the print works of Kronecker Wallis in Barcelona, Spain. Revisit the work here.

In 2017 the conversationsEAST team have sworn an oath to finally deliver their draft arts journal, artSUFFUSION, and to expand the range of contributors to our pages in the hope of stimulating interest in arts, culture, history and all the other things that occupy our minds during the working day.

As we were unpacking another delivery of books in the intervening quiet days betwixt the festive holiday and New Year, we were pondering, as we tackled another Open Office document and posted several WordPress pages onto our servers for clients. How far have we come in terms of print production?

The Italians took a long look at the subject, the now pre-historic hot metal typesetting process, in 1960.

Source: See the movie on YouTube

Whilst some time later, nearly sixty years in fact, an American production giant revealed how the introduction of micro-processor and the refinement of mechanical processes enabled tens of thousands of printed copies to be created within three short days.

Source: See the movie on YouTube

We thought the passage of time and socio-economic difference was wonderfully reflected in the the comparison between the be-suited operators of the Lino-type machines, half man, half machine, seemingly embedded in their mechanisms as their typing materialised from hot metal reservoirs, into hard gobbets of text, for onward transmission to other people and process.

The contrast underscored by the modern, casually dressed and processor driven work environment of a contemporary print house. We noted the lack of people populating the production landscape in the latter. The ‘white collar’ aspects of the book now taking place remotely, no longer a craft skill in an industrial setting.  A true sign of our times?

Whatever changes 2017 brings, a happy New Year to our readers from the conversationsEast team.

 

 

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The Ferengi still use gold-pressed Latinum…

To the RSA yesterday, in John Adam Street, London, WC2N 6EZ. Between meetings in London we managed to fit in a visit to the lecture by Professor Kenneth Rogoff, deliberating about the existence of cash, illustrated by examples from his new book – The Curse of Cash.

Rogoff: curse of cash cover image
Review or purchase this book from Amazon.co.uk here…

Despite misconceptions in the popular press, Professor Rogoff, he is the Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University, argues for the deletion of high value notes from a national currency, not, as is often quoted, the dramatic end of cash all together.

Drawing on his international experiences, Rogoff served as an economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, he argued for the removal of high value notes from circulation as a methodology to reduce criminality and tax evasion.

Rogoff recognised, in passing, the recent currency changes in India, remarking that his advice to Prime Minister Modi would have been to move at a much slower pace, although India’s fiscal motives are not totally clear at present. Cessation of high value notes is now, he argued, a recognisably legitimate lever in the economic tool box, although ideally pursued over a period of perhaps two years, with currency withdrawn in batches of maximum value over that time.

Using the U.S. as an example, evidence was offered regarding the size of bank note holdings in a population – nearly always much, much higher than any official Treasury forecast, he argued.

In theory, in the U.S., every person should be holding about $4,200 dollars in $100 bills for example. However, we were told, current research indicated that only 5% of U.S. citizens ever saw bills of this denomination, and only once a year at that.

A simple show of hands in The Great Room at John Adam Street, saw only four members of the audience having used a £50 note in the last month. This exposition led on to an assessment of the underground economy in Europe. Undeclared transactions making up 16% of the German economy annually, with up to 25% in Italy and Greece. In the U.S., we were informed, this currently runs at about 8%. But in all cases these hidden  economic transactions represent vast sums in the tax ‘neutral’ take of businesses, whatever their ethical make-up.

Cash and culture:

Rogoff referenced the U.S. economist, Neil Wallace, whom he argued failed to see the rise of electronic currency during his seminal economic work in the 1970’s. Now, Rogoff argued, there has been a step change, in young people particularly, for whom electronic banking and cash movements may have become the norm.

This could have resonating consequences for world economies. Governments make large cash transfers and could, he argued use free, subsidised debit cards for members of society  and deliver benefits, refunds and payments to individuals without the repetitious ‘cost of cash’.

In his lecture Professor Rogoff appeared to be a strong proponent of the use of negative interest rates, to stimulate cash investment in business infrastructure, citing Sweden as an example where this policy had energised the real economy.

In rounding off his talk Professor Rogoff, cited the work of U.S. economist Robert Eisner, arguing that Central Banks could also have a role to play in the ‘new attitude’ to cash. The use of technical devices, such as deploying currency held in banking systems using a distinct and different exchange rate.

This was a quietly and elegantly delivered short lecture, drawn from a very telling book, The Curse of Cash, which provoked and underscored an interesting number of new ways of thinking about cash, banking and the cultural and fiscal exchanges between us all.

We recommend it.

The final exortation, light heartedly, was for us to remember that the Rogoff thesis is not about the abandonment of cash, rather its perpetuation in ‘smaller ‘ form.

The Ferengi, we were told, had after all never lost their interest, as free traders of integalactic renown, in gold-pressed Latinum.


You can hire the resources and spaces of 8, John Adam Street for both corporate and social events. A stunning venue in the heart of London, just off The Strand.

Explore the facilities available here

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The Blue New Deal
from NEF

 

This new research report from the New Economics Foundation (NEF) is a refreshing look at our coastal communities and their economies.

It provides proposals for action, which are leavened through a recognition of history and localised specialist skills. The analysis is elevated beyond the ordinary ‘top down research’ by emphasising the need for socio-political and economic frameworks in coastal communities which re-connect people  with nature and the coastal landscape – a series of contours that are geographical, industrial and philosophical.

The report takes us out of the ivory tower and into the sand dunes.

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See your copy here…

pdfIcon4  You can view, print or download a pdf copy of this NEF report here…

Previous NEF research has already looked at how  a low-carbon economy can generate new jobs and economic entities,  that can offer secure, decently paid and satisfying work in a more equally distributed economic landscape. See more here…

The essence of the New Blue Deal is to build on existing initiatives and create a mixed framework of five changes and economic thematic deliveries, which are sustainable, inviting and inclusive to the communities of focus.

  • Ÿ Ÿsustainable fisheries and aquaculture
  • renewable energy
  • coastal tourism and related activities
  • Ÿ innovative approaches to coastal management
  • opportunities to re-connect people with nature

‘For the fishing industry, for example, NEF analysis  shows that restoring UK fish stocks to healthy levels and promoting lower carbon emissions through
quota allocation across the main UK fishing fleets would mean an extra 457,000 tonnes of fish landed each year, leading to an additional £268 million
GVA (Gross Value Added) and a 24% increase in employment, the equivalent of 4,922 new jobs’.

Source: Carpenter, G., Esteban, A. (2015) Managing EU fisheries in the public interest: Results from the Bio-Economic Model of European Fleets. New Economics Foundation. Results calculated using 2010-2012 performance. New jobs estimate is made up of fishing jobs (11%) andprocessing jobs (89%). Retrieved from: http://www.fisheriesmodel.eu/

The report looks at a variety of UK locations, with fishing being a key focus of course. However, other work is highlighted. Engagement and partnerships that work across responsible tourism, leisure and recreation.

From Anglesey Adventures, a business working in the outdoor leisure arena, to The Venus Company, working in its chain of cafes to ‘…balance customer needs with environmental and social considerations’. We particularly liked the feature on Learn to Sea, a ‘sea school’ project in South Devon. Using the coastal spaces as an educational resource which informs children and young people, but which also carries forward the ideas of sustainability, economic durability and environmental awareness into the next generation.

Here at conversationsEAST we are incredibly fond of the Suffolk coastline, for example. But we look at areas around communities like Great Yarmouth or Lowestoft, with their long tradition of fishing and livelihoods from the sea. Whilst we recognise that ‘Big Oil’ does provide jobs and technical advancement for some sectors of the community, without doubt, creating a recognisable  influx of highly specialised employees from external sources.

Whilst this fosters economic activity which is vital, it does not reposition those communities to explore, create and sustain their history with their coastline and enable them to encourage the growth of entry level and intermediate skilled work.

The New Blue Deal does.

You do not need to spend long with the NEF document to see, in your mind, how your favourite stretch of coast can become a thriving community – a nexus of education, social and community enterprise, ocean facing and non-exploitative at every level.

We commend this report to our readers. If you would like to explore and track the New Blue Deal there is a new NEF website available here. http://www.bluenewdeal.org/

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The city. The future. The optimism.

Leaving the opera in the year 2000!

Leaving the opera image
Image: Albert Robida, 1882 – The Public Domain Review, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wonderful vision of city and cultural life, imagined in 1882. Even in the 21st century it is hard to contemplate leaving a cultural event in a city, stepping into your floating air carriage and drifting off home in ease and solitude.

Even after the most vigorous Tannhauser at the interneticon Royal Opera House, a trip on the Northern Line to return to the solace of High Barnet bears no comparison.

We have not given up on the city yet, though.

Our recent Fellows Annual dinner in the East of England was held in the surroundings of interneticon Emmanuel College in Cambridge.  Dating from 1584, the original Dominican Priory has been embraced by later buildings, yet Fellows were able to hear an entertaining and informative after dinner talk by Matt Lane, Head of the Royal Opera House site at Thurrock, the interneticon Bob and Tamar Manoukian Production Workshop, where ROH productions are built and delivered to cities.

The conversation also ranged across the occasion of the region’s forthcoming conference at the University of East Anglia. The programme for which includes Norwich Fellows session on Empowering Invisible Norwich and another on What is a Learning City? So although we will not arrive by hover car, the idea of the city will continue to echo.

Extending the city:

Writing just before the start of this century Peter Hall, in his book Cities in Civilisation – Culture, Innovation and Urban Order ( Weidenfeld & Nicholson, London, 1998) was minded that…

At the turning point between the twentieth century and the twenty-first, a new kind of economy is coming into being, and a new kind of society, and a new kind of city: some would say no city at all, the end of the city as we know it, but they will doubtless prove wrong…

Hall goes on to develop his argument about societal change and stresses the enormous impact of technology on urban dwellers across the globe. This is true, but the forecasts of the end of the city have proved somewhat premature.

In fact, the building, or extending of cities, continues to be a hot political issue. For the forthcoming report by Sir Michael Lyons there is an indication that he will recommend that cities should be allowed to expand at their edges, a return to the New Town concept perhaps. With councils free to borrow and invest in house building and bringing reform of land release for house building to the table.

This latter point outlines how strong the the High Victorian concept of urban spread as an entirely bad thing remains. Surely the point is what sort of urban extension or city growth you achieve. We must not build urban ‘rookeries‘, or blanket ‘Bedford Brick‘ box extensions across acres of green fields either, we would argue.

Land release for social housing or city corporation development will be a thorny issue for private landowners, what ever the political persuasion of the originating idea, we suspect. You can see this debate outlined in more detail in a recent article from Patrick Wintour in The Guardian here.

Farming the city:

Using existing infrastructure in conurbations for innovative purposes is immensely appealing. Using it to farm, to develop new urban and social businesses based on food, new flowers and green space cultivation is a great way to deliver new skills, better diets and employment into communities, we would argue at conversationsEAST.

Robida in 1882, or Hall in 1998, could not have imagined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology  interneticon MITCityFARM project.

 “As part of the City Science Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, we explore the technological, environmental, social and economic design of scalable systems capable of producing affordable and high quality food in the heart of our future cities”.

If you have an interest in this green aspect of the debate an on-line visit to MIT is worth it. The MITCityFARM team are working in three key areas.

  • Re-thinking the ‘grow it there, eat it here’ agenda
  • reviewing the ‘urban infrastructure facade’
  • developing global open access course-ware, to make knowledge about agriculture available to all.

In the East of England, the agricultural heartland of the UK, arguably, there must be Fellow’s projects that can be blended into delivery of vertical gardens, rooftop farms or the reclaiming of industrial and derelict sites for community owned small holdings or gardens? (Write to the Editor, let us know, we’ll do a feature…Ed.)

The edge of the city, in the city garden:

A blending of  city growth concepts and urban farming/community greening agendas come together in the now, with the recent release of the short list for the interneticon Wolfson Economic Prize.

The Wolfson Prize team undertook research to see what sort of urban development was uppermost in people’s minds. The Garden City was by far the most popular ‘civic choice’ of growth mechanism. Simon Wolfson talks about the design choice in this short film below…

Consequently, the five prize shortlist contenders have been asked to submit designs for a new Garden City. You can see the individual practices in competition here.

In conclusion, maybe the time is now right. We have innovative thinking on edge development, an energised architectural sector with modern materials and community sensibility, coinciding with increased interest in city farms and Garden Cities from the civitas.

Who cannot have an optimistic view of our cities?

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A self-employed revolution?

The RSA Action and Research Centre have just published Salvation in a start-up? The origins and nature of the self-employment boom (Benedict Dellot, May 2014).

A collaboration between The RSA and Etsy, an on-line creative and craft market place, founded in New York in 2005, the report is part of a forthcoming series which…

examines what types of micro-businesses are becoming more commonplace? What has caused the large increase in recent years? And what effect are they having on the economy and wider society?

self employment 2014 cover pic
New markets, new people?

The report argues that the current economic landscape contains six tribes of self employment. The Visionaries, the Classicals, the Independents, the Locals, the Survivors and the Dabblers.

We at conversationsEAST would have liked to see a seventh category, or is it an overlay to do with motive for the existing players? That of the ‘socially motivated’ self employed. Whether a visionary at the top of the list or a part-time, older dabbler at the bottom, all may have begun their entrepreneurial journey with a passion to undertake an ethical, socially focused business or activity.

(There must be Fellows in the East of England who fit into this latter, socially motivated cohort, given the ‘societal change’ remit of our Society? – Ed.)

pdfIcon4 Download a full copy of this report in pdf format here...

The largest of the cohort surveyed were the Survivors. Earning less, and more likely to be younger. Whilst the argument for overwhelming market competition that forces this group to struggle to survive may be a good one, if viewed through a more ethical, social business lens, the lack of focus on personal income but rather on softer, less tangible social outcomes for an entrepreneur like this would also affect the findings too.

Another interesting focus in the report is the Happiness Paradox. The traditional view of self employment, it can be argued, is of an isolated, stressed individual who struggles to make ends meet. This rather cliched description is belied by other findings that suggest those who seek self employment are ‘…more content at work and happier in their lives’.

Stress there is, without doubt, but the RSA report highlights other academic research that sees the development of self employed enterprise as ‘…long periods of relative stability punctuated by critical episodes of transition and change’. The gains for the individual in life outcome are only punctuated by pains periodically. The management of change, or how to pivot the enterprise, is a key skill for the entrepreneurial micro-business, social or otherwise.

Do these finding matter? Yes they do. The RSA research findings offer a subtle and detailed analysis of self employment, its conditioning, content and motive. It disposes of the traditionally held viewpoint that older people, who are pushed or pulled into self employment, represent the core. When in fact, by age, motive and shades of effectiveness the position is more complex.

Does this affect our region? Yes it does. This focus on self employment, who by and how it is operated should condition the thinking of Fellows who are looking at projects involving education, social entrepreneurship, skills and sectoral growth in any field. Self employment is a conditional state. Entrepreneurship is about opportunity recognition and the philosophy of risk. The two are connected.

The ‘social business’, delivered by one or a group of entrepreneurs, wholly focused on social outcome is, we would argue at conversationsEAST, a sound model for sustainability of a project. What a great solution to economic change and development in communities – social entrepreneurs delivering innovative ethical business models over time.

Arguably, if the new report Salvation in a Start-up has rewritten the self employment landscape, combining it with social enterprise can re-write a community landscape? What do you think?

interneticon  See the report highlights in the Enterprise section of The RSA Action & Research Centre web pages here…

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Economic growth, the full story?

In this RSA Short for April 2014, Growth is Not Enough, Oxford economist Kate Raworth looks at the constantly heard economic mantra of growth. Is it all that needs to be in the economic outcome basket of results, despite the repetitious demands of politicians?

What should economies aim for is Kate’s key question? We recently published in our RSA East journal a short interneticon TED Talk by Harish Manwani, Chief Operating Officer of Unilever, where he stresses that brands, corporate business endeavour, can be a force for social change in communities. His take on growth was to stir in responsibiity to the fiscal admixture.

The Raworth argument pivots on the notion that un-mediated economic growth leads to deprivation, degradation and inequality.

Richard Wilkinson, one of the co-authors of The Spirit Level, gave a stirring TED Talk on inequality a couple of years ago. He effects to compare and contrast the data on major economies of the world and how inequality in societies affects the lives of millions.

interneticon  How Economic Inequality Harms Societies – well worth a look.

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