9 May: Real Economics Beats Neoliberalism

It's time to think differently about economics and Sheffield has a good heritage to build on.

Event | 24.03.23

The Feeling is Mutual

Is there a better way of thinking about economics? Can we generate local cooperative solutions to our problems instead of waiting for the government to fix things. There is a long history of folk from Sheffield and Yorkshire working together to achieve social justice and build community. We need that same spirit now.

Join us in Sheffield for a lively exploration of some of these questions:

Date: Tuesday 9th May
Time: 7pm - 9pm BST
Venue: Quaker Meeting House

Dr Simon Duffy of Citizen Network will chair presentations from two experts in alternative economic thinking, both with close links to Sheffield:

There will be time for questions, discussion and debate.

Register for tickets on Eventbrite at: 


This event is part of the Festival of Debate and supported by Citizen Network Research.


There is a long history of radicalism in Sheffield: The richness of the Guild Socialists debates in Yorkshire, the emergence of the Sheffield Settlement for workers education, and the Adult Education movement emerged from the working class’s thirst for knowledge, especially of the political economy. These were initiated by the towering figures of John Ruskin, Edward Carpenter and Alfred Orage in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Their intellectual leadership led to the great political economy debates that challenged both financial and government policies. 

From these sprang new ideas of communitarianism, social credit and co-operative production to deal with wage slavery and exploitation. Today, this thinking is key to overcoming the deadening impact of neoliberal policies and economic inequality. We need to revive their method of constructive debate and apply their principles in our communities, including community banks, and to our choice of politicians.

The UK has suffered greatly by reckless government policies from Labour and Tories that have taken no account of the real needs of the people. Both parties have shrunk the state, putting Treasury diktats before the needs of our institutions. The destruction of Tory privatisations were matched by Labour's PFI insistence, interfering with operational demands and draining money from capital budgets. So-called efficiencies trumped citizens' needs.

Society cannot flourish under the current extreme centralisation regime. Precedence must be given back to local government and communities - subsidiarity in place of command and control. Politicians must represent their constituencies and not be slave to their Party. Every citizen should be given as much money as they need for a home, energy, food, and a secure family life. This was at the heart of Guild Socialism and we need to renew that demand.


John Carlisle was Professor and Chair of the Johnson and Johnson Leadership Development Institute at Rhodes University, South Africa and Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Organisation and Management, Sheffield Hallam University. He was the founder of the Sheffield firm, JCP, that worked worldwide on collaborative supply chains. At its peak in the 1990s JCP helped construction projects across the world save a total of £500 million a year, while completing on time or early. His book on collaborative procurement strategies, Beyond Negotiation, sold across the world with translations in Italian and Chinese. Now retired, he is an NHS activist and works on economic reform especially in the public sector. He isa regular contributor to Yorkshire Bylines.

Chris Cook is an alumnus of Sheffield University and Senior Fellow at The Institute for Strategy, Resilience & Security, University College London.

Simon Duffy is President of the global cooperative Citizen Network Osk and Director of Citizen Network Research, the Sheffield-based think tank. 

This event is part of 2023's Festival of Debate; view the full programme of events here.

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