michael wilkes 3Like Hall Green’s alderman and economist Professor Michael Wilkes and Northfield’s Dr Dick Rodgers, historian Mark Mazower expresses the need – in the FT – for a notion of the common good to be restored.

Wilkes advocates a new discipline, socionomics, to replace the desiccated, manipulated, disloyal, extractive and highly unequal economy that has been allowed, and – by some administrations – encouraged.

dick rodgers 3Rodgers set up The Common Good party founded on the hope and belief that: “Tomorrow we’ll be happier, living and working for each others good and for the good of the world, that is, for “The Common Good”.

Mazower, a British professor of history based at Columbia University, reflects on Syriza’s victory in a country where youth unemployment is above 50%, an entire generation being ‘consigned to the scrap heap’ and where the common good is being sacrificed through forced sell-offs of state-owned lands as well as businesses, with the prospect of ecological destruction as a result.

Urban Britain also has a disturbing level of youth unemployment and has sold its state-run utilities for a pittance to foreign companies.

Wilkes acknowledges that the social and moral education needed to produce a citizenry of good intent that will make the socioeconomic system work properly and sustain it for future generations, and winding back globalisation will take longer and will involve more people and organisations and other countries.

He advocates certain steps that could be taken immediately:

  • the restoration of equitable and redistributive taxation,
  • the introduction of living wages,
  • the plugging of many loopholes for tax avoidance,
  • the undertaking of thorough corporate reform
  • and the recreation of an active, interventionist and self confident public sector.

He concludes: “These measures would represent leadership in its finest form. This, and the promotion of the concept of stewardship in place of the present self serving forms of ‘leadership”.

mark mazowerMazower says in typically understated fashion that if finance is to serve Europe rather than run it, a notion of the common good needs to be restored.

The alternative is an increasingly fractious continent.

In Birmingham, Britain, Greece and Europe as a whole, the Wilkes, Rodgers, Mazower ‘moral vision’ could and should be restored and reactivated.