- Does money make the world go round?
- Is the love of money the root of all kinds of evil?
- If everyone is in debt, who’s got all the money? How did we get into the current economic mess, and how do we get out of it?
- Can we shop our way out of recession, or are there more sustainable ways of creating jobs and keeping essential public services going?
Think in Kingston
Think in Kingston will be exploring these and many other questions on a subject that affects us all.
Think in Kingston is an annual festival of ideas, a month of discussions, activities and participative events, run by a consortium of participating community groups; WDM is one of these.
The 2012 theme is Money. All events are free although a collection may be taken to help cover expenses. Selected events are shown below.
All events are at C-SCAIPE, Kingston University, Penryn Road campus, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2EE unless otherwise stated. Find out more details on the Think in Kingston Events Calendar.
Cooperatives: a better business model?
In this International Year of Co-operatives, Think-in-Kingston starts with this different way of creating and distributing wealth, and its impact on society.
Sion Whellens (of Calverts, 35-year old design/printing co-operative) will talk about co-ops in general before talking about Calverts specifically.
Charlotte Borger (of Divine Fairtrade chocolate) will talk about Devine and Fairrade in general.
Monday 1st October, 6.30 – 8pm
“Money can’t buy me love…”
But shouldn’t it be paying for the NHS, education, decent housing, care of the vulnerable and freedom from conflict? Does the Government care more about the rich than they do about the rest of us? If the whole country is in debt, who has the money? Are we really “all in this together”?
Come and have your say at this debate – we’ve invited campaigners, economists, activists and advocates. We’ve invited politicians too – but only on condition they explain themselves…!
If you’re worried about cuts in services, rising prices and the fact that no-one seems to be listening, come along. A report from this debate will go to councillors, MPs and the media. Let’s tell the “powers that be” how we feel!
Wednesday 10th October 7 – 9pm at
Richard Mayo Centre, United Reformed Church, Eden Street
Kingston upon Thames
The financial and climate crisis: how debt rules the world
The current debt crisis in Europe is not the first. For the last thirty years large debts between countries have increased poverty and inequality from Latin America to East Asia, Africa to Russia .
Tim Jones, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer, Jubilee Debt Campaign will talk about:
• The similarities between the European debt crisis and Third World debt crisis
• The impact debt cancellation can have
• Why debts are continuing to increase across the world.
Kirsty Wright, senior climate justice campaigner, World Development Movement, will talk about:
• Climate Debt, a concept that has emerged from the global south
• The contradiction of the UK giving climate loans through the World Bank, which do nothing to address the injustices of climate change.
Monday 15th October, 7 – 8.30pm
Is Banking to Blame for Poverty and Debt?
Ben Dyson of Positive Money argues that we are in a crisis because so few of us, including policy makers, economists, journalists and ordinary people, understand how our monetary system works.
Almost all money is now created by private banks as debt. In the words of Martin Wolf, writing in the Financial Times, “the essence of the contemporary monetary system is the creation of money, out of nothing, by private banks’ often foolish lending”. Ben Dyson explains how poverty and high debts are inevitable when 97% of money is created as debt by banks, and how reforming the banking system is essential to dealing with the huge social and environmental issues that we face around the world today.
Wednesday 17th October 6.30 -8.30pm
Click here for the first in a 14-part comedy series following George Osborne on his personal journey towards tackling global hunger:
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On 14th October, four members of the group went along to the community centre adjoining Kingston Mosque to talk to Zac Goldsmith, Conservative MP for Richmond Park, about WDM’s current campaigns. On climate debt, Zac was broadly supportive of the principle that those who have contributed very little to climate change should not have to bear the costs of adapting to it. He appeared surprised to learn that so much of the UK’s funding for climate mitigation is being administered by the World Bank and provided in the form of loans rather than grants, an arrangement he did not support. He also spoke of other schemes designed to mitigate climate change that might bring benefits to poorer countries. On food speculation, while arguing that there are other reasons for long term global food price inflation that cannot be easily addressed, he agreed that the price volatility caused by speculation is problematic. He was interested to hear about the measures WDM is campaigning for to address this, in particular the use of position limits. We left him with the latest WDM reports on these two issues, and have asked him to write to the ministers concerned. We are now hoping that he will report back to us.
Bongani Mthembu, Maria Adebowale (director of Capacity Global) and Kirsty Wright (WDM climate justice campaigner) will be speaking on the effects of climate change in Africa and the need for the UK government to adopt a fairer approach to addressing this. There will also be poetry from Selina Nwulu.
7pm at University of London Union, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY.
Further details at www.wdm.org.uk/events/africa-demands-climate-justice.
Richmond and Kingston WDM are involved in organising three free events in this year’s Think-in-Kingston, a festival that’s now in its seventh year.
Measuring well-being: How will it make a difference?
7.15 for 7.30pm on Thursday October 13th 2011
In Room 3002, John Galsworthy Building, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, KT1 2EE
With Edward Davey MP for Kingston and Surbiton, Liberal Democrat Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs in the Coalition Government
and Charles Seaford, Head of Centre for Wellbeing at New Economics Foundation (economics as if people and the planet matter) and member of government’s Measuring National Well-being Advisory Forum led by the Office for National Statistics
Are you happy in your work? (or retirement?)
Learn how you can optimise your chances of being happy at work
7 pm – 8.30 pm on Monday October 24th 2011
In Room 1004, John Galsworthy Building, Kingston University, Penrhyn Road, KT1 2EE
With Dr Stephanie Morgan, Chartered Occupational Psychologist
Spirit Level – “Does equality matter for a happier you and society?”
7-9pm on October 27th 2001
At Surbiton YMCA, 49 Victoria Road, Surbiton, KT6 4NG
With Bill Kerry from The Equality Trust
In October 2010, four Richmond and Kingston WDM members met with Ed Davey MP (Liberal Democrat, Kingston and Surbiton).
We raised the issues of Trade and Food Speculation. We pointed out that WDMs believe that the present volatility is much worse than usual because of the activities of speculators, and gave him WDM’s report on this which he agreed to read. You can find the report at: http://www.wdm.org.uk/food-speculation
We hope to arrange more meetings with local MP’s in 2011. These meetings usually take place in the evenings and are a good way for groups of members to meet their MP and raise issues on behalf of WDM. Other MPs covering the Kingston and Richmond WDM area are Zac Goldsmith MP (Conservative, Richmond Park & North Kingston) and Vince Cable MP (Liberal Democrat, Twickenham).
10 March: ‘Fashion laid bare: making sense of ethical fashion’
6pm at Kingston University (Penrhyn Road, KT1 2EE)
Barbara Crowther, Director of Policy and Communications at the Fairtrade Foundation www.fairtrade.org.uk
Holly Berry, ex-student from the fashion dept www.hollyberryprojects.com
Abi Petit, Co-founder & Director of Gossypium www.gossypium.co.uk
For full details: www.kingstonfairtrade.org.uk/events
An inquisitive audience of members of the public were invited to ask questions of Kingston and Surbiton constituency parliamentary candidates, just before the recent general election. WDM Richmond and Kingston took part in the event, jointly organised by a network of local activist groups.
The audience asked questions about international development and the UN Millienium Development Goals, meat and dairy production and its influence on global warming, Trident, vulture funds, Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay – and, whether any of the candidates had considered promoting a society in which we all worked less, earned less and consumed less….
The Kingston and Surbiton candidates were: Ed Davey (Liberal Democrat), Max Freedman (Labour), Chris Walker (Green), Helen Whately(Conservative).
Vince Cable MP joined two other eminent speakers, Canon Peter Challen and Tarek El Diwany, on Wednesday 7 October to consider ideas for a more just and sustainable financial system. Around 100 people attended the meeting at the YMCA Surbiton organised by the Richmond and Kingston World Development Group.
Dr Cable thought the fact that power was passing from the G8 – a group of the richest countries – to the G20, with China, India and Brazil as members, should be welcomed. Speaking of the credit crunch, he said how wrong it was that we had had a situation where profits were privatised and losses borne by taxpayers. He reaffirmed the need for banking reforms and changes to global financial institutions.
“Life is a gift”, said Canon Challen. He believed it was our flawed interest-based monetary system that needed to be changed if we wanted a more sustainable world. Tarek El Diwany agreed. Mr El Diwany had started life as a derivatives trader. However as he looked more carefully at the financial system and he travelled and saw the devastating effect of debt service on poor countries, he began to think differently. He felt the whole way that banks in effect ‘created’ money in the form of debt and then charged interest was deeply flawed and led inevitably to huge inequality between rich and poor.
Mr El Diwany stressed that without changing the current financial system via monetary reform we will all remain stuck. This is because the whole system does not create enough money to pay both the amount borrowed and the interest charged by banks. Thus without people taking out more and more loans, getting into greater debt the whole system collapses. When we cannot take on any more debt we are then faced with economic recession and perhaps even slump and people lose their jobs, default on their loans, and lose their homes. Rev Canon Peter Challen added, that at the same time the need for perpetual economic growth to pay off previous debt has led us to use more and more resources; destroying our environment and leading to adverse climate change that affects both poor and rich alike.
Members of the local Richmond and Kingston Group were delighted that the World Development Movement’s national director Deborah Doane also attended the meeting. She encouraged everyone to become active citizens and to put pressure on politicians to work for a more just and sustainable world.