A new think-tank, Common Wealth, was launched this week. It is to focus on “transforming and democratising” the ownership of business, finance, data and digital technologies, the environment and land. It advocates new “ownership models” for a more sustainable future economy, involving the nationalisation of utility companies including water, power distribution and the Royal Mail, greater use of co-operatives and more public involvement in ownership models.
The home page of its website holds a number of interesting articles and one in Tribune describes Common Wealth’s mission in detail.
Mathew Lawrence, founder of Common Wealth (below right) is a former senior research fellow on the IPPR’s Commission on Economic Justice, which last year issued an influential report by figures from business, trade unions, academics and Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, calling for higher wages, greater government investment and workers on boards.
Forthcoming publications by Common Wealth include a report into inequalities in land ownership, a plan for reshaping ownership of digital infrastructure and a plan for democratising corporate ownership. Mr Lawrence said the question of who owned and controlled the wealth of society was a fundamental question in 2019.
“Just as nationalisation underpinned the postwar consensus and privatisation drove Thatcherism, new pluralistic and democratic models of ownership will be vital to moving beyond neoliberalism,” he said.
Jim Pickard in the Financial Times writes that the organisation hopes ‘to provide the intellectual framework for a UK version of the “Green New Deal” backed in the US by leftwing Democrats, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’.
That would be reinventing the wheel: Common Wealth and Mr Pickard are directed to the site of Britain’s well-established Green New Deal Group which has core members of different political persuasions.