Newsletter autumn 2010
Eminent Corporations and the sea, lecture at the National Maritime Museum on 30 Sept...
A century ago, Lytton Strachey broke the mould for biographies which a series of slightly tongue-in-cheek biographical sketches of Victorian heroes. Andrew Simms and I decided to do the same for corporations, most of which have managed to slough off their histories – they have become empty, vacuous things without a past. The result is not just fascinating stories – from M&S and BP to Barclays and the BBC – but a series of tragedies, of great visions and dreams shattered, and some important questions about what to do next.
The third NESTA/nef report on co-production looks at what this all means in practice for public services, and how we get from here to the kind of equal partnerships – with users actually delivering servicesincludes six tales from the front line in the UK, explaining what has been holding these ideas back and where they have succeeded magnificently.
Well, they didn’t work as hard as we do, for starters. That was the theme of my talk with Andrew Simms at the Hay Festival in May. The media response was amazing. There was a full article in the Guardian and a number of radio interviews as far away as Canada. I had to explain that I didn’t necessarily want to live in the twelfth century – medieval dentists leave me cold – but that there may be some areas of their economic life which we have forgotten.
Or did he really disappear? The latest research on John Cabot is beginning to fill in some of the holes in our knowledge about what kind of man he was, and it may be that he was an even more important pioneer than historians had guessed before. That was the upshot of my lecture at the National Maritime Museum in the Boats that Built Britain series.
The E. F. Schumacher Society in the USA has now become the New Economics Institute, and their excellent new website is now up and running. The prospect of a transatlantic link between the two new economics think-tanks is very exciting and will give a real opportunity for the forces of light who are trying to wrestle a new kind of economics into existence.