The Other Economic Summit

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The Other Economic Summit (TOES) "was founded by TOES/UK, now the New Economics Foundation. The first TOES conference was held in England in 1984 when a variety of individuals and groups concerned with social justice and the environment decided there should be a peoples' response to the G7 (now G8) summit held in London that year. ...

"In 1991, the TOES conference returned to London and was organized by the New Economics Foundation, with participation by TOES-USA...

"In 1998, TOES returned to England for a third time, and again the New Economics Foundation sponsored a "Peoples' Summit", this time in Birmingham, England. In 1999, a consortium of German groups sponsored "Alliance Cologne 99/Bündnis Köln 99" in Cologne, Germany. "Summit 2000," in Okinawa, Japan, was organized by Japanese groups. The 2001 G8 Summit Genoa, Italy, turned deadly when police harassed legitimate popular responses to G8 policies and one protester was killed. After 9/11/2001, the G8 adopted a fortress mentality as sites for the G8 summits in Kananaskis, Canada, in 2002 and Evian, France, in 2003, were chosen to be as inaccessible as possible. This year's site at isolated Sea Island, Georgia, continues this trend. Happily, as the G8 leaders became ever more isolated behind ever bigger barricades, press coverage of the various popular responses to the G8 Summits got better and better. We hope to be able to show them the many ways - from economic analyses to economic strategies -- by which people everywhere are taking control of their own economic destinies." [1]

The Other Economic Summit (TOES) and the New Economics Foundation - 1983-2000

"The first TOES meeting was held in London in parallel with the 1984 annual G7 meeting of the Group of Seven richest industrial countries. It attracted considerable attention at the time. Looking back now, we can see it as a significant forerunner of the growing social justice and new economics movements which now campaign constructively around the world for socially and environmentally benign development, and which some people think of as part of the "anti-globalisation" movement.

"Alison and I were involved in TOES from before the start, and then in the New Economics Foundation (NEF) which came out of it two years later. In its first ten years or so, NEF played an absorbing part in our life, and we have continued to be associated with it...In 1983 we were living in Ironbridge, Shropshire when the following letter arrived at "Spring Cottage", our little house looking south over the Severn Gorge.

"October 1983. The text of a letter of 25th October from Jonathon Porritt and the first of its three enclosed Ecology Party papers. It asked if we would help the Ecology Party to set up an Alternative Economic Summit. I am grateful to Jonathon for agreeing to this being published. The hard-copy original is in his handwriting.

"Many of the original members of the Steering Committee which came into existence soon afterwards were friends and contacts of ours, with whom we had worked over the previous ten years through Turning Point and in other ways. We were all immensely fortunate in having Paul Ekins as Director of TOES and then NEF. Without him the impact we made over the next three years would not have been achieved.

"TOES 1984 was held on 6-10 June in London, close to the G7 meeting in Lancaster House. 170 people from 16 countries took part, "representing the deep concern in our countries about the continuing failure to confront the real economic problems facing the world". A 40-page Report and Summary was published. The Final Communique remains very relevant - unfortunately - to the world's problems today (2004)...

"The launch of the New Economics Foundation in June and The Living Economy in September 1986 marked a notable record of achievement over the three-year period from October 1983. Paul Ekins reasonably decided it was time for him to move to something less insecure financially. He left TOES/NEF in February 1987 to do research on new economics at Bradford University combined with work for the Right Livelihood Foundation.

"By November 1986, in anticipation of Paul's departure, I had become responsible for NEF's strategy and projects. I had in mind a collection of projects under the broad heading "A New Economics by the Year 2000". When we found we couldn't raise funding for it for NEF, that idea turned into Future Wealth: A New Economics for the 21st Century.

"The responsibility for strategy and projects meant quite a lot of time on fund raising, and from January 1988 to June 1995 I managed a project account for NEF at my bank. I had excellent support from colleagues in NEF - for example from John Davis who was NEF's chairman at the time and Francis Miller who was in the NEF office. (John, after retiring from Shell, had worked with E.F. Schumacher on appropriate technology for the UK. Francis now works as a small business consultant and has helped me to set up this website.) Others included Perry Walker and David Boyle, who both continue to be active with NEF today.

"A project already in the pipeline at that time was a seminar on "Future Cities" at Oxford Polytechnic in April 1987, led by David Cadman. The papers, edited by him and Geoffrey Payne, were published in 1990 by Routledge as The Living City: Towards a Sustainable Future. Mine was on "Alternative Futures for Cities"..." [1]

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  1. About, The Other Economic Summit USA, accessed March 3, 2009.