This paper is about how to mitigate the recession, and, where possible, turn crisis into opportunity. It has been prepared to provide a framework for thinking and action by governments and local authorities, voluntary organisations and businesses, linking the global dynamics of recession to action on the ground.
In the paper we summarise the background to the recession and the different approaches that governments around the world – national, regional and local – are taking, including what we call protective, future investment, localising and insulating responses. We describe some of the social and economic effects that are already visible, and what’s likely to lie ahead.
Our central argument is that the majority of current policy responses have been – inevitably – designed to fix the past, putting right the mistakes of the banks and others. The priority in the next phase is to shift direction towards fixing the future.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt argued in 1932 for “bold persistent experimentation”, and said “it is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something”.
We argue for linking the two great challenges of our times that most demand ‘bold, persistent experimentation’: the need for better solutions to the short-term problems of recession; and the need for better solutions to the long-term challenges of climate change and ageing, healthcare and expanding education.