Talk 2013-10: HS2 and economic development

Café Economique talk given by Bettina Lange
When: Thursday 24th October 2013, 7:30-9:30pm
Where:  Vat & Fiddle pub, Queensbridge Rd NG2 1NB (in the Visitor Centre room, ground floor, left end of pub – wheelchair accessible)

 
Do the economics of High Speed Rail stack up ? The talk will
  • investigate the claim that HS2 will regenerate the local economy and steer economic activity away from London and the South East and towards the Northern English regions
  • examine the claim that people around the HS2 station proposed at Toton will benefit economically
  • have a look at the model for financing the HS2 project
  • outline uncertainties and risks regarding who will fund development and infrastructure associated with HS2 (for example addtional road capacity or public transport links)
Bettina Lange chairs the East Midlands Transport Activists’ Roundtable, is a member of the Nottinghamshire Campaign for Better Transport committee, has many years experience of transport campaigning and policy work, and has co-ordinated and written reponses to the emerging HS2 plans for East Midlands and Nottinghamshire Campaign to Protect Rural England.
 
She will be presenting her own take on HS2.
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Talk 2013-09: Islamic Banking

Café Economique talk given by Bushra Merghani
When: Thursday 26th September 2013, 7:30-9:30pm
Where: City Gallery, 14a Long Row East, Oriel Chambers Courtyard NG1 2DH

Copy of talk: Islamic Banking

Does Islamic Banking offer a solution to the problems that have blighted western banks in recent times?

A growing number of Islamic, state-owned and private banks in Asia, Middle East and Africa are offering a range of ‘sharia-compliant’ financial products (business loans, mortgages and hire-purchase finance) without charging interest or up-front fees and are still making huge profits. Deposits into these banks have been growing at the rate of 30% per annum. Currently, it’s estimated that almost $200 billion transactions take place through these banks every year.

This talk by Bushra Merghani will discuss the benefits and limitations of Islamic banking and to what extent western banks can benefit from their experience.

2013-07: Keep the Parasitic Banking Sector Alive and the Economy Dies

When: Thursday 18th July 2013, 7:30-9:30pm
Where: Upstairs room at the Peacock, 11 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB
Attendance is free although a voluntary collection will be taken to help with the group’s future expenses

This will be a facilitated discussion around an interview given by Australian economist Steve Keen in June 2012. Keen was one of the few economists to predict, and explain, the financial crisis before it happened. We will start with a recording of the half hour interview by Paul Mason with a live audience at the London School of Economics.

Issues raised include:

  • Economists’ models ignore the impact of money, banks and debt. This is only valid in a world where there is no credit, no debt and no banks.
  • Banks profit from creating debt – until the mountain of debt becomes unsustainable. Reducing the debt reduces GDP and causes austerity.
  • An alternative to austerity is a ‘Modern Debt Jubilee’ – putting money into people’s bank accounts to write down debt: quantitative easing for people not banks.

This discussion was proposed in an earlier post, Summary of a radio interview with Australian economist Steve Keen, which goes into much more detail about Steve Keen’s opinions and further reading on the subject.

The radio interview is at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01j5h51

Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/359546250817715/

 

2013-06: What is ‘alternative economics’ anyways?

Café Economique open discussion

When: Thursday, 20th June, 7:30 to 9:39 p.m.
Where: Upstairs at The Peacock, 11 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB
Attendance is free although a voluntary contribution will be taken to help with the group’s future expenses.
Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/281599081974242/

Our discussion will be based on close reading of a document called ‘PRINCIPLES FOR A NEW ECONOMY’ that can be freely downloaded here: http://ase.tufts.edu/gdae/advancing_theory/principlesforaneweconomy.pdf

This, of course, is not the only document available that tries to articulate the ‘principles’ for what some would called an alternative economic order. We think, however, this acts as a good representative of the field.

If you get a chance, you could download this 3-page document beforehand and bring it along to the session.

A member of the Café Economic organising committee will act as a facilitator for the discussion.

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new economics foundation Mythbusters: “Britain is broke – we can’t afford to invest”

nef and the Tax Justice Network have paired up top economists and journalists to write a series of guides exploring the truth behind common economic myths. This first mythbuster, prepared by Howard Reed and Tom Clark, addresses the question: is Britain really ‘broke’?

Mythbusters: “Britain is broke – we can’t afford to invest” | the new economics foundation

Talk 2013-05: Skills Exchange and Time Banking

The Skills Exchange - helping handsCafé Economique talk given by Helen Rigby of the Partnership Council Skills Exchange
When: Thursday 16th May 2013, 7:30-9:30pm
Where: Upstairs room at the Peacock, 11 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB
Attendance is free although a voluntary collection will be taken to help with the group’s future expenses
Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/551430484877185/

Helen Rigby, with the assistance of members of the Skills Exchange, will explain what it is, what it does, and how people benefit from it.

Skills Exchange is a Time Bank. The principle behind Time Banking is very simple, for every hour that you help someone else you will receive one time credit, you can then go on to swap these time credits when you want something doing for you. One hour’s work equals one time credit no matter what skills are used. All skills have equal value.

It does what it says on the tin. It is a chance for people in the community to swap skills with each other.

From the Skills Exchange Weblog

This Skills Exchange has been going almost 6 years now. There is a network of Time Banks, there are other such schemes around including one in West Bridgford, and the ‘LETS’ principle is a similar one: enable members to provide services for each other without the need for money. This is particularly useful for people on lower incomes or during times of hardship. These schemes also encourage community cohesion and neighbourliness at a time when people often feel distanced from each other. There are frequent socials, trips and outings, craft sessions and fundraising drives such as the recent Spring Bazaar.

Come and hear testimony from those who run and use the Skills Exchange on how well it works for them.

Talk 2013-03-21: ParEcon – Participatory Economics

Book on ParEcon by Michael AlbertCafé Economique talk given by Jason Chrysostomou of IOPS
When: Thursday 21st March 2013, 7:30-9:30pm
Where: Upstairs room at the Peacock, 11 Mansfield Road, Nottingham, NG1 3FB
Attendance is free although a voluntary collection will be taken to help with the group’s future expenses

As discontent for current forms of socio-economic organisation grows around the world, the pressing question arises, what do we want as an alternative?

Participatory Economics, or ‘Parecon’, is an economic model developed by Robin Hahnel and Michael Albert that seeks to address this question. The model describes how workers and consumers can co-operatively, equitably and efficiently plan a complex modern economy themselves and in a way that produces more desirable humanitarian and ecological outcomes.

This session will present the goals, key institutions and strategic implications of the participatory economics model, followed by a Q&A session.

Some quotes on Parecon:

“It merits close attention, debate and action” – Noam Chomsky

“an imaginative, carefully reasoned description, persistently provocative, of how we might live free from economic injustice” – Howard Zinn

“Parecon is a brave argument … for a much needed, more equitable, democratic, participatory alternative economic vision” – Arundhati Roy

Facebook event page: http://www.facebook.com/events/492916110745554/