Watch the WISERD Foundational Economy Online Series 2020

WISERD Foundational Economy Conference 2020 cover image
In September 2020, WISERD held the Foundational Economy Online Series 2020.
This series of online events addressed key questions arising from the current COVID-19 crisis and explored the ways in which foundational thinking can contribute to social and economic repair. The series was made up of three online sessions:


  • Foundational Economy 2.0: building a sustainable future

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

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

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.


If you missed any of the online sessions, you can watch videos of each event: WISERD Foundational Economy Online Series 2020.