Our financial system has long since failed to do the basic job required of it – to underpin the productive economy and the fundamental operating systems upon which we all depend.

These have been variously neglected, taken for granted or cannibalised by finance. They include the core economy of family, neighbourhood, community, and society, and the natural economy of the biosphere, our oceans, forests, and fields.

In the ashes of the current crash lie important signs that a new economics is emerging. Just beneath the economy’s surface is the sleeping architecture of a new, diverse and resilient local financial system. The same is true of Britain’s neglected and undermined network of small shops and local enterprises that contribute disproportionately to job creation and help create the social glue that holds communities together during hard times.

What is new is that these proposals are no longer distant dreams on a hopeful wish list. Because the state owns a large slice of the financial system, these are things we can do now. The argument that they are impossible because the state cannot intervene directly to shape the financial system has fallen. Massive intervention has already occurred but more innovative and decisive action is needed if government is to get to grips with the problem.

Back to business as usual is no longer an option. In this publication, NEF offers twenty proposals both to stabilise the economy and lay the foundations for a new economic order.