Pete North, professor of alternative economies in the Department of Geography and Planning at the University of Liverpool and member of the Community Economies Institute, has prepared a policy briefing on post-COVID-19 economic recovery in Liverpool City Region.
The briefing, Building Back Better: What Role for the Liverpool City Region Economic Recovery Panel?, has been prepared through the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy, Practice and Place for the Liverpool City Region Economic Recovery Panel.
Professor North said that economic recovery "does not mean reverting to business as before, but building back better by being guided by ethical co-ordinates that establish what we want out of the economy, beyond growth at any cost."
"COVID-19 has wrought a terrible toll on those who have lost family and friends, and those whose jobs and businesses are under threat, but at the same time lockdown has highlighted some of the things that people value."
"There are those who have benefited from spending more time with family, enjoying a slower pace of life with time for more exercise, and watching nature bouncing back and breathing cleaner air."
According to the briefing, this experience shows how we should not focus uncritically on growth for its own sake, but on growing a clean and socially inclusive economy that provides good, well paid and secure jobs based on sustainable and ethical work practices.
Some of the practical steps outlined in the briefing include developing 'anchor institutions' that focus on buying local goods and services and can help to incubate locally committed, co-operative, and social and solidarity enterprises; and generating new green jobs by retrofitting energy inefficient buildings, developing clean green power, and growing more food locally.
In the 1980s, Professor North worked on the Action for Cities program, and since then he has researched how radical ideas such as social and solidarity economies can help solve today's problems.