FreshSight, as the UKs first, and only, student-led social enterprise consultancy, has always encouraged creative thinking about how we do business. Being involved with the company has opened my eyes to the potential for our traditional understandings of how and why we make profit to change. That is why, when we were invited to collaborate on the Rethinking Capitalism event, I jumped at the opportunity to be involved. Rethinking Capitalism is, for me, a vital part of ensuring proactive, positive and lasting change for all in society.
It was clear, from the packed-out lecture theatre, that this sentiment had struck a chord with many. I was gratified, if a little overwhelmed; the event was so popular that I had to spend several minutes ushering latecomers to the front row, as this was the only place with spare seats. The event had not just attracted students either – several academics and members of the public also attended. Evidently, rethinking capitalism is on the minds of the Edinburgh community.
The panel discussion itself was engaging and informative, despite being somewhat controversial at times. It was evident that our chosen panellists were very knowledgeable in their respective areas. If they were unable at times to conceal their own bias, this only sparked conversation and debate (which I have been actively engaging with since the event!). Whilst I, alongside many others, would have appreciated more diversity in the panel and greater recognition of the need to rethink capitalism on a global scale, I believe that the panel excelled in drawing our attention to the key issues of unstable growth, inequality and climate change, propelling a dialogue that seeks out this change.
And so, when reflecting on the event, I have an overwhelming sense of hope. That these conversations are being started, and engaged with, by so many, fills me with optimism. However, as Michael Jacobs commented, we have in the past been prone to do too little, too late. My hope is that we can be a community that reverses this trend. That we will do more than start a dialogue but instead use our choices, careers and lives to really make change happen.
Many thanks to The Buchanan Institute, Economics for Change and Prosper Social Finance for collaborating with us for the event!
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