Foundational economy online series poster

In recent years there has been a growing interest in the foundational economy – the collective consumption of basic services and products. WISERD has formed the foundational economy network and our research is exploring the foundational economy in Wales and internationally.

This series of events, held on 8, 9 and 10 September, addresses key questions that arise from the current COVID-19 crisis and the ways in which foundational thinking can contribute to social and economic repair.

The first event will examine the significance of the foundational economy for environmental sustainability. The second event will address the ways in which civil society organisations, such as charities and housing associations, and policy makers can use alternative economic ideas to work towards economic and social justice in the aftermath of the current crisis. Our final event will focus on the Welsh Government’s Foundational Economy Challenge Fund, sharing examples of practical policy initiatives and experiments to pass on lessons learnt and good practice.


Foundational Economy 2.0 : building a sustainable future

8th September 2020; 2:00pm – 4:00 pm (UK time)

Speakers: Teis Hansen (Lund University), Lars Coenen (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences), Julie Froud (Manchester University)

How can an emphasis on foundational sectors contribute to environmental sustainability? Are there areas of economic activity that can shift our ecological footprint in the right direction and contribute to the improvement of biodiversity and natural resources? This seminar will discuss critiques of foundational thinking and consider the potential of new foundational economy approaches (foundational economy 2.0) to contribute to the well-being of future generations, help confront climate change and secure biodiversity.

Foundational Solutions and Social Justice

9th September 2020; 10:00 am – 12:00 Noon (UK time)

Speakers: Rachel Reeves MP (Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office) and Fabrizio Barca (coordinator of Forum Disuguaglianze e Diversità and previously Italian state minister without portfolio for territorial cohesion from 2011 to 2013).

As states respond to the COVID-19 crisis with policies that stand in stark contrast to those of the neo-liberal decades that preceded it, what influence can be brought to bear on the specific forms these policies take? How can policies that address economic inequality and social justice be promoted by social movements and civil society organisations? Are foundational thinking and policies such as a universal basic income and universal basic services about to become mainstream? This seminar will consider these issues and the ways in which alternative economic ideas can gain political traction in the current crisis.

The Foundational Economy in Practice: Well-being and economic renewal

10th September 2020; 10:00 am – 12:00 Noon (UK time)

Speakers: Lee Waters (Deputy Minister for Economy and Transport), Elin Hywel (Cwmni Bro) and Sophie Howe (Future Generations Commissioner for Wales).

The Welsh Government has taken a leading role in supporting and developing the foundational economy. This work includes investment in experimental projects across Wales through a £4.5m Foundational Economy Challenge Fund. This seminar will share some of these projects and discuss how these initiatives can be developed though spreading and scaling best practice. It will also explore the barriers to and facilitators of these kinds of projects and their potential for contributing to well-being and economic renewal.

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