In our new series, we’ll be exploring the wider question of how we reshape our economy based on what really matters, and why we think attachment to place should be at the heart of how we think about this new economy. We’re interested in helping to create an economic system that is fit for the 21st century, one that counts more than money, more than GDP, more than profit. So, what do we mean by social value – and how can we support organisations and communities to embrace social value as a new system of accounting for value?
Hello and welcome to the Social Value Exchange, with 4theRegion, exploring how to create an economy and a society that values what really matters, and the power we have to make change happen in our own region, through positivity, collaboration and mutual self-empowerment. I’m Dawn Lyle, and this is the social value exchange.
So, if you’ve been following 4theRegion over the last year, you will know that we have been hosting a weekly podcast on Youtube, Spotify and iTunes, which we launched during the first Coronavirus lockdown as a way to keep the conversation going during very strange times.
Inspired by the times we were in, and thinking it was a clever turn of phrase, we jumped on the title “Build Back Better” as the name for our podcast, to reflect the sense that COVID offered an opportunity to rethink and re-evaluate our ways of living and working.
Little did we know at that point that those three words, Build Back Better, would come to be appropriated by all kinds of people, organisations and politicians, some of whom are perhaps more committed to business as usual than radical systems change.
The slogan was adopted by Joe Biden’s political campaign in 2020, and was the name chosen for a global infrastructure strategy launched by G7 countries in June 2021.
In short, it’s become a fairly meaningless platitude, and not the ambitious, aspirational statement that it once felt like to us!
So, we thought! Time for a relaunch! Time to build back better with a new name and a new mission for our weekly podcast!
Welcome, to the Social Value Exchange, with me, Dawn Lyle, at 4theRegion.
In relaunching our weekly online conversations, we have a number of objectives.
The first is to continue to feature and amplify the work of inspiring activists and changemakers across South West Wales, who are doing things differently and making change happen, helping to build the new economy in our region, in alignment with Wales wellbeing goals. These are the people, organisations, businesses and community groups who are the engine of our movement, committed to being the change they want to see in the world, and starting right where they are, here in the towns and communities across our wonderful region. You will hear from and meet many of them over the next few months and if you know of someone that fits the description and who you think we should interview, please send us your suggestions, to firstname.lastname@example.org!
Our second objective is to connect with the wider movement that 4theRegion is part of, to provide more compelling reasons for people like you to tune in and listen to our podcast each week. We really want to engage more people and develop a channel that you want to keep coming back to for insight, inspiration and information. Part of that is about expressing more clearly what we are talking about. As all good marketers know, you can’t be all things to all people, and if you try and talk to everyone in fact you end up speaking to no-one.
As the years have gone by – and 4theRegion is coming up to our fourth anniversary at the end of this year – Zoe and I have continually sought to crystallise our thinking and clarify our purpose. The thread that connects everything we do is the pursuit of a new, resilient regional economy that serves the wellbeing of people and the planet, rather than what we’ve got, which is a precarious, exploitative, economic system that extracts value from people, the environment and local places, and turns it into wealth that is concentrated in the hands of very few, very wealthy corporations.
We are interested in an economic system that is fit for the 21st century – and that is one that counts more than money, more than GDP, more than profit. The new economy places value on the things that we have in abundance here in South West Wales: human connection, community, the natural environment, creativity, belonging, time and talent. Perhaps what we are talking about is alternative forms of capital – natural capital, human capital, cultural capital and social capital. Unhooking from the money economy and starting to value and build alternative means to wellbeing is a key part of what will make our region – and others – resilient to the future that’s coming down the line.
So there are some big themes that we will be exploring and unpacking as we move forward.
Firstly, we want to talk about and learn about Social Value – which is how we count and measure the things that really matter to us – the things that deliver wellbeing to people, places and the planet; value that is not captured by profit margins and GDP.
And secondly we want to talk about Place – about place-based regeneration and resilience, putting the PLACES that we live at the forefront of our thinking about how we create a wellbeing economy. 4theRegion is part of a global movement to reconnect people with the places they live, to rebuild sustainable local economies and mitigate the devastating impacts of global capitalist realism.
Place-based regeneration and resilience is sort of the antithesis to what I think is most broken about the world we live in. The global concept of capitalism that now dominates all our lives works to actively erode that sense of belonging to a place – free movement of goods, free movement of capital, international trade, import and export, outsourcing to wherever in the world it’s cheapest to operate, buying online from wherever you can get the cheapest deal. Certainly companies are not expected to have any loyalty to places anymore, and we’ve seen that, here in Wales, where big external businesses have benefited from government grants and concessions to locate here, but have then left when those incentives have dried up.
We’ll be talking about the Foundational Economy, the Wellbeing Economy, Attachment Economics and Doughnut Economics – all different ways of describing and thinking about the way we want to live, the way we want to re-organise our society and our economy so that it delivers wellbeing for people, places and the planet.
I am really excited to launch this podcast series, and I’m looking forward to some insightful conversations with thought leaders on all these topics over the coming weeks and months. My colleague Zoe Antrobus will be joining me to cohost roundtable conversions about the transformation of our region – here in South West Wales – and our colleague Evie Redford will be doing all the work behind the scenes to edit, post and promote these weekly episodes.
I will be your friend and co-traveller as we go on this learning journey together! Please follow, like, subscribe – whatever platform you’re joining us on! And tune in each week to the social value exchange, with me, Dawn Lyle, from 4theRegion. Thank you for listening!!