Colin was the co-ordinator of Greenpeace International’s Economics Unit for 10 years and has worked in the environmental movement for over 30 years on the issues of population, food, new technology and unemployment, nuclear proliferation. Most recently he has focused on the adverse environmental and social effects of international trade and the need to solve these problems by replacing globalisation with localization.
He is author of the often-cited book Localization- A Global Manifesto (Earthscan) and helped form Localise West Midlands which is putting localisation into practise on the ground. Localization would ensure that all goods, finance and services that can reasonably be provided locally should be. Depending on the context, the ‘local’ is predominantly defined as part of the nation state, although it can be the nation state itself or occasionally a regional grouping of nation states.
Colin is convenor of the Green New Deal Group with Larry Elliott, Tony Juniper, Jeremy Leggett, Caroline Lucas, Richard Murphy, Ann Pettifor, Charles Secrett and Andrew Simms. He worked to get private finance involved constructively with Green New Deal type initiatives particularly in Birmingham, the first local authority to set one up. The group’s second report: The Cuts Won’t Work explains why spending on a Green New Deal will reduce the public debt, cut carbon emissions, increase energy security and reduce fuel poverty. Public and private investment in a Green New Deal to make all UK buildings energy efficient, will generate jobs, business opportunities and safe havens for investors by putting in place the green infrastructure our future economy needs. The report also advocates the need for Green Quantitative Easing as a response to the anticipated serious economic downturn, “as a response to the serious economic downturn the clowns in government are engineering”.
Cuts: the callous con trick
In a later report, Cuts: the callous con trick, Green MP Caroline Lucas, tax expert Richard Murphy and Colin document why any reductions in the deficit still needed once the economy is in better health can be paid for by fairer taxes, not cuts. It sets out a range of options for changing the tax rules so that more than £40bn in additional taxes could be raised each year. HM Revenue & Customs are pursuing a programme of job cuts which will ultimately reduce their own staff by 20,000. This should be reversed in order to tackle tax abuse.
His new book ‘Progressive Protectionism’ will detail why ever more open borders are increasing inequality, reducing economic activity and threatening the environment. It explains how countries could rebuild and rediversify their economies by limiting what finance, goods and people they allow to enter their borders, and in the process wean themselves off export dependence. Domestic businesses and funding sources would then meet the needs of the majority in society in all countries.
The prospect of such increasing economic security for the majority could gain widespread political support ranging from those on the left, the centre, the greens through to small ‘c’ conservatives.
See the beautifully designed Compass ‘Thinkpiece’ on this subject by Colin, http://www.compassonline.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Change-the-Discourse-Compass-Thinkpiece-73.pdf