Academics like Danny Dorling explain how the countries which top the “happiness” index also top the “equality” charts – more equal societies are happier.
Anxiety over financial security drives people to spend their time in ways that don’t make the most of their true talents. Suspicion and self-interest flourish when people are competing for resources. Inequality creates feelings of superiority/inadequacy, undermining personal self-worth and fragmenting communities.
An economy solely based on competition is linked to many environmental and social ills. Natural resources and labour have been exploited to drive wealth into the hands of a smaller and more concentrated group of people – globally, and here in the UK. Even in small geographical areas, like Swansea, or even Gower, wealth inequality is very stark. Combine this with the overall decline of local economies and livelihoods, and it’s easy to see why both rural and urban communities are suffering.
Solving the twin-track disasters of climate and social breakdown requires giving people more control over things that affect their lives, and seeing the benefits of prosperity – as well as the responsibility for problem-solving – shared out more fairly. We aim to give local people ownership of assets, a direct say in how they are run and an opportunity to share profits amongst the community in the form of beneficial projects that strengthen networks and promote co-operation.