New Year’s greetings from NEF’s new chief executive

This year marks 40 years since The Other Economic Summit was held, which led to the creation of NEF

I am thrilled to have started this year as the new chief executive of the New Economics Foundation (NEF). This is an organisation that I have long admired, especially for the fantastic work that my predecessor, Miatta Fahnbulleh, led in her time here. From analysing the autumn budget, to reimagining how energy bills should work and building power in communities across the UK, NEF is ready to take on the challenges of 2024.

This year marks 40 years since The Other Economic Summit was first held. The Summit, held as an alternative to the G7 Summit being hosted by the UK in 1984, led to the creation of NEF a few years later. Back then economists and activists could see that the rise of neoliberalism was threatening both our living standards and the health of the environment we depend on.

Four decades on, their assessment has sadly been proven correct. Over the past 40 years the rules that shape our economy have been rewritten to support corporate power and wealthy elites.

These rules shift wealth from the rest of us to the very richest, make our jobs and homes less secure, and accelerate environmental breakdown. We can see this today, in our threadbare NHS and schools, high living costs and low wages, and increasing heatwaves, droughts and floods.

There is a better way to run our economy, starting with a state that prioritises people’s wellbeing and a healthy planet over a misplaced faith in free markets and competition. 

The issues that NEF has worked on, and the approach it has taken, have always felt salient, but today they are more urgent than ever. I wrote to colleagues and friends asking what makes NEF special — and I couldn’t agree more with one of the responses I received:

Our position within the political landscape allows us to call for fundamental change, something most organisations cannot do. By designing and promoting bold policy solutions we have an opportunity to shift the debate and change opinions.”

I am excited to lead NEF through its next phase. As we approach a general election in the UK, and with so many burning challenges facing the world, NEF’s work feels timelier than ever. But it will take all of us working together.

If you are already an active part of NEF’s network and already donate to NEF, thank you so much! The work we do to fundamentally transform the economy challenges vested interests so your support is particularly critical.

If you don’t donate already, please consider joining our Supporters’ Network with a monthly donation.

Here’s to a safe, successful and sustainable 2024!

Image: iStock

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