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Shape of things to come

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29.11

What kind of nation do we covet for ourselves, our children and their children? Do we really want an economic jungle, in which the rich get richer and "losers" fall by the wayside in increasing numbers? Or do we dream of a land of opportunity for all, where everyone is respected and rewarded for what they contribute to society at whatever age and stage, whether they are a brain surgeon or a street sweeper, a home-maker or retired?

Creating an inclusive, integrated society requires everyone's involvement and therefore democracy needs to thrive at every level, from local communities to national government. "Subsidiarity" is the principle whereby as many decisions as possible are taken by those who will be most directly affected. According to the same logic, those not affected should abstain: just as one wouldn't expect those of a certain age to decide on the line-up of a music festival for mainly young adults, so those not currently in the workplace shouldn't be making decisions affecting tax thresholds or pension pots. But we should all be learning about these tedious yet necessary realities. And taxes are not evil if one understands and values how they redistribute wealth in order to provide the amenities and infrastructure which we all enjoy.

A dynamic, green, fair economy requires a national bank which can make loans and provide a safe place for savings and investment, especially for pensions and healthcare. To foster innovation there also needs to be tolerance of failure and a willingness to take risks. The world is in a state of emergency. Such situations demand "all hands to the pumps" and for the broadest consensus we need the widest possible involvement: a national conversation which is not clouded by the defeatism but which is illuminated by hope.



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