We know that much is wrong with the current economic system, but what are the alternatives? And how would they work in practice?

The new economy project supports Quakers to articulate a vision of a practical, ethical economic system in line with Quaker values. We also support Quakers to take action to move our economy in this direction.

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    'Building the new economy' booklet out now

    The final installment of the new economy booklet series is now available. Read online or request free paper copies using the details below.

    What is the new economy?

    The 'new economy' refers to an economic system that values human wellbeing, fairness and sustainability above profits. For Quakers, the new economy makes possible:

    "a way of living that will free us from the bondage of material things and mere conventions, that will raise no barrier between man and man, and will put no excessive burden of labour upon any by reason of our superfluous demands."

    from 'Foundations of a true social order' (iv) Quaker faith & practice , 23.16

    The current economic system has provided humanity with many material benefits. However those benefits have been unequally shared. Many of them have been brought about through the over-exploitation of the Earth's natural resources.


    "The global economic system is posited on continued expansion and growth, and in its pursuit of growth it is often unjust, violent and destructive…We need to ask the question whether this system is so broken that we must urgently work with others of faith and good will to put in its place a different system in which our testimonies can flourish."

    - Minute 23, Britain Yearly Meeting 2011


    Quakers have committed to work towards a different kind of economic system based on our belief in a fundamental human equality and respect for the Earth.

    Quaker principles for a new economy

    In 2015, the Quakers who guide the new economy project published ten principles that could underpin an economic system in line with Quaker values. Below is an abridged summary; you can read the full Principles for a new economy (2015) publication here.

    1. The purpose of the economy is the enhancement of all life, human and non-human.
    2. We do not over-consume the earth's resources
    3. All (including future beings) have an equal right to access and make use of global commons such as land, soil, water, air, and the biosphere's capacity to process greenhouse gases, within the limits of what is sustainable
    4. Everyone needs time and resources to participate in community life
    5. The well-being of people and planet are not sacrificed to preserve profits or reduce national deficits
    6. Since money plays such a key role in the economy, it is created under democratic control, for positive social benefit rather than private profit
    7. A fundamental equality is recognised, not limited by race, gender or social origin
    8. The tax system redistributes from richer to poorer, with richer people paying a greater proportion of their income
    9. Businesses are structured and owned in a variety of ways. Cooperatives and community-owned enterprises form a large part of the economy as well as private and national ownership
    10. A revitalised, participative and more truly representative democracy is key to our peaceful and prosperous coexistence.

    Get involved

    The new economy booklets

    Quaker Peace & Social Witness have published a series of seven booklets about the new economy. Designed for reading group discussion and individual contemplation, each booklet looks at different aspects of the economy and contains key facts, ideas for action and questions for reflection. Please email neweconomy@quaker.org.uk to request free paper copies.

    Booklet 1 – What's the economy for?

    This booklet asks what the aims of economic policy should be, and looks at different ways to measure economic success. Download What is the economy for? (PDF) e to get started.

    Booklet 2 – Good work in the new economy

    This booklet explores how work might be reimagined in line with Quaker testimony and what types of businesses could support this. Download Good work in the new economy(PDF).

    Booklet 3 – Energy in the new economy

    This booklet outlines how we can transition to a green and fair energy system. Download Energy in the new economy (PDF).

    Booklet 4 – Money, banks and finance in the new economy

    This booklet explores how the banking system and money creation could be fairer. Download Money, banks and finance in the new economy (PDF).

    Booklet 5 – The role of markets in the new economy

    The booklet analyses how markets are framed within capitalist economies and how new economy markets differ. Download The role of markets in the new economy (PDF).

    Booklet 6 – Ownership in the new economy

    The booklet reviews the political power of ownership and looks at examples of progressive and sustainable models for property stewardship. Download Ownership in the new economy (PDF).

    Booklet 7 – Building the new economy

    The final installment of the series sets out the resources, actions and ideas that are fundamental to our future economic wellbeing. Download Building the new economy here (PDF).

    Set up a new economy reading group

    Quakers in Britain support Quakers with establishing reading groups that take the new economy booklets as reading material. Session plans are provided to help groups read the seven booklets and contemplate them together over a course of eight sessions. Groups prepare to take action together by reading, learning new things and discussing what comes up.

    New economy reading groups launched in November 2016. There are now 50 active reading groups across Scotland, England and Wales. Anyone can set up a group of their own – in fact, some local meetings now have several reading groups, to meet the needs of different people.

    Make the alternative

    In-depth new economy workshops are available to meetings who would like to learn more. To arrange a workshop with a member of the new economy team, please email us at neweconomy@quaker.org.uk.

    Take inspiration from others – Exeter Quakers helped to create a regional currency to spend in local shops, while Horsham Quakers host a Repair Cafe (offsite link) in their meeting house. If you're doing something that helps people reimagine how the economy works, tell us so we can share your news with others. Contact Maya Williams at mayaw@quaker.org.uk or on 020 7663 1056.

    Our Sustainability and New Economy grants fund Quaker or Quaker-supported projects that are working towards the creation of low-carbon, sustainable communities and a different type of economic system. Applications open every spring.

    Listen to the Q:Witness podcast

    In this episode of the Q:Witness podcast from early 2017, Cait Crosse (then New Economy Project Manager), shares what's happening with the project and interviews Quaker Yuan Yang, Beijing correspondent for the Financial Times and founder of Rethinking Economics.

    In this episode, Cait Crosse explores how is money actually created, whether a bank can be ethical and how to ensure a favourable reincarnation of the economic system.

    Contact us

    Gurpreet Bola
    Economic Issues Programme Manager
    020 7663 1037