‘It’s the economy, stupid’! Governments rise and fall on the back of economic success or failure. For the public, the economy is consistently ranked among the top three issues of concern. Yet, few people feel literate enough to understand economic policy, to distinguish necessity from ideology, not to mention to actually contribute to the economic policy processes. The lack of transparency in the values and assumptions that underlie economic judgements, and the lack of democracy and creativity in the way economics is debated, constitute a real and deep democratic deficit in economic policymaking.
The Citizens Economic Council seeks to address this challenge “by demystifying economic concepts” and empowering citizens to discuss economic policy “with agency and authority”. With the aim “to create a stronger economic democracy in the UK through informed engagement and discussion”, the RSA will bring together a group of 60 randomly selected citizens from across the UK to bring the public voice into economic decision making. The panel will engage with economists, leading thinkers and policymakers, moving through a “journey of deliberation” and economic inquiry.
The two-year process is overseen by an independent advisory group, “convened to ensure a high-quality engagement process, as well as balance, independence and impartiality in the materials presented to the Council”. Members of the Advisory Group include Prof Graham Smith, Chair of the FDSD board of trustees and Simon Burall, Director of Involve.
The Council aims to work as “a catalyst for sparking a broader public discussion about the goals and priorities of economic policy, through an open online course and by promoting citizen deliberation over economic policy at events in communities up and down the country.”
For further information, visit the RSA website. You can follow the deliberations of the Council via live-streams of CEC seminars, and participate in the conversation on Twitter with #citizenseconomy @citizenseconomy.