Decisions about the economy are typically made by a small number of institutions. If these institutions don’t serve the public as well as they could we need to be able to challenge them to improve.
This is as true of private institutions as it is of public institutions – many of them run their businesses with publicly educated staff, publicly funded infrastructure, drawing upon public consumers to buy the goods from which they make a profit.
The key premise of the Citizens’ Economic Council is that we will have a better democracy, and enable an economy that serves the wider public, by allowing people to participate in economic policymaking processes.
Economics is about human relationships, values and judgements – which can and should involve everyone. We want to kickstart a richer conversation about the economy - one that engages with a wide range of values and perspectives.
We’re crowdsourcing your ideas on how institutions can involve, collaborate with and empower citizens in decisions about the economy.
Take the challenge:
Institutions that make decisions that affect our economy include:
- The Government (both local authorities and politicians) who decide how to spend money on services like schools, hospitals, the police and housing.
- Banks (both high street banks and investment banks) who make decisions about financial products such as how mortgages or loans are structured and supplied. There is also the Bank of England which is the Central Bank that controls interest rates.
- Large Companies and Business who decide the cost of everyday goods and how employees are treated (including pay, working conditions etc.)
What would it mean for these institutions to engage more meaningfully with the public on decisions about the economy? And how could institutions benefit from this engagement?
Participation is a spectrum
There are five key ways that institutions can engage with the public identified through a spectrum of public participation.
At one end citizens are informed about decisions; at the other end citizens take control of the decision-making.
The spectrum of public participation outlines the different levels of participation and engagement of citizens that are possible. This is a spectrum because it is possible for citizens to be engaged in all of these different ways (simultaneously) – the methods that are most appropriate for a given circumstance may vary depending on the decision and the context. Check out the crowdsourcing challenge for a deeper explanation of each of these approaches.
What ideas are we looking for?
We want to hear your ideas on how institutions can better involve, collaborate and/or empower the public in decisions about the economy.
We will be seeking submissions specifically in relation to the UK economy. However, if you are based globally, and can draw upon experiences elsewhere in the world that can help strengthen U.K economic policy, we would welcome hearing from you.
Simple or complex, all ideas are welcome! Once submitted other registered members on the platform will be able to comment on ideas and offer feedback and suggestions.
The RSA and project partners (including a panel of citizen councillors and advisory group members) will then review each submission to establish the feasibility, creativity and positive social impact of your proposals.
The best ideas will be shortlisted and showcased as part of the final report launch of the Citizens' Economic Council.
We really look forward to seeing what ideas you come up with!
Take the challenge:
Find out more about the RSA Citizens' Economic Council
Megan Corton Scott
In the current populist era an active initiative such as the Citizen’s Economic Council is not only necessary, but a breath of fresh air argues Megan Corton Scott.
To renew democracy, we need to think about how we can combine the strengths and overcome the weaknesses of direct, representative and participative methods.