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Economic Justice

Related pages: Economics, Resources

Global trading of goods and services and the provision of overseas development assistance or aid impacts on millions of people's lives in the developing world. Often aid is given to countries with conditions attached. These can involve the opening up of their domestic markets on resources, such as water supply, to foreign companies. Trade liberalisation promoted by the IMF, World Bank and World Trade Organisation is often a one-sided process, and although intended to promote growth, can result in negative consequences for some of the poorest people in developing countries.

Economic Mythbusters course materials

The course materials from the new economics foundation (nef) working with Quaker Peace & Social Witness (QPSW) are now available online.

Delivered by prominent journalists and economists, with input from QPSW, the course was designed to help Quakers become better equipped to understand and challenge a series of economic ‘myths’ which hinder the adoption of new economic ideas and practical reforms that could help to create a more sustainable, just and equal world.

Inequality and the welfare cuts

QPSW is working on what we can practically on the topic of the welfare cuts and started by planning a conference in October called 'Gathering for Action'. Read more information including the latest minute from Meeting for Sufferings.

Socially Useful Banking?

"Socially Useful Banking?" was an Occupy Economics Event, sponsored by Quaker Peace & Social Witness, and held in Friends House in London on Monday 29th October 2012.

The speakers were:

  • Andy Haldane, the Bank of England’s Executive Director of Financial Stability
  • Mick McAteer, consumer advocate in financial services, Director of the Financial Inclusion Centre, and non-executive member of the FSA board
  • Duncan Weldon, TUC Senior Economist

Andy Haldane has been at the forefront of international debate on the future of banking and financial regulation, and how it might be made to serve the public good. He and other speakers considered what is meant by “socially useful banking” and, with the audience, debated how to return the banks to their intended social purpose.

Andy Haldane's speech is now online on the Bank of England website [new window]

Yearly Meeting Gathering 2011

In 2011 1,500 Quakers came together in Canterbury for Yearly Meeting Gathering (YMG). The Yearly Meeting made a corporate commitment to become a low carbon sustainable community.

Better World Economics

Better World Economics was the newsletter of the Economic Issues programme of QPSW. It is no longer published but back issues are still available online.

Close the Gap

Quaker Peace & Social Witness is a member of Close the Gap campaign aimed at closing the gap between rich and poor and there are resources available on their website.

Millenium Development Goals - write to your MP

We suggest that Friends write to their MP highlighting their support for government action so far. A template letter for this is available.

Economic Justice and the Sustainable Global Society event - 2011

Listen to the conference speakers and view their presentations online. The delegate pack given out on the day is also available.

Multinational companies

In partnership with the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR) [offsite link] we undertake research on Transnational companies, such as BHP Billiton, in which the ECCR members have investments. QPSW does this in order to inform dialogue between ECCR members and those companies.  As shareholders the member churches can exercise influence on the business practices of a company.

We are also a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative in which we work with other charitable organisations, trade unions and companies themselves to improve conditions for workers.

Educational and campaigning resources

We use the knowledge gained from all our economic justice work to provide educational resources for Friends and others to learn about economic issues.  This enables them to respond to areas of concern from a basis of understanding.

QPSW is a partner in the Trade Justice Movement and uses this partnership to support your voice against poverty.  Through these we provide information and resources to help campaigners put pressure on governments that have influence how the international economy is run.

Quaker United Nations Office (Geneva)

Since 1993 Quaker United Nations Office Geneva (QUNO Geneva) has been working on behalf of Friends, influencing international policy around the issue of the social and environmental implications of free trade.

The World Trade Organisation (WTO), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO - a UN specialised agency) are all based in Geneva and wherever possible QUNO Geneva works with their representatives to provide an intelligent alternative viewpoint to the issues of global development.

Using well established Quaker methods of working in 'small circles with quiet voices', QUNO has organised numerous off-the-record seminars to bring together policy makers, specialised staff from these institutions, knowledgeable and experienced environmental NGOs and labour leaders to look at links between international trade and labour and environmental standards.

Understanding these links is crucial to devise policies to prevent downward pressures on labour and environmental standards as a result of increasing global competitiveness. Outputs from these seminars have sometimes been concrete and sometimes supportive of broader policy change.

More detailed information including a complete list of all QUNO Geneva publications can be found on their website: [offsite link]