The Future of Caring in the Norwich Economy

Between now and the end of March 2022 I’m talking to people in Norwich, the regional city centre of Norfolk, England, about how care is valued in the wider economy.

It’s part of the research and innovation work that the Norwich Good Economy Commission is funding. 

Amongst the movement of inclusive economic thinking and practice, this is one to notice: how far this has reached public institutions; outside of some of the larger urban centres in the UK. 

Theoretically, we can all recognise the environmental and social limitations of our economic systems.  Talk to any economist and they will tell you that the financial value of objects or transactions does not reflect the whole value. 

But why have we allowed that to dominate our behaviour and our collective, public, decision-making so much?

Why does social value have to translate into a financial value to matter? 

This is a really big audacious question, that many people worldwide are considering and acting on.  It also influenced some of the research and writing in the 2019 Association of Professional Futurists programme on ‘The Transformation of Capitalism’ that I contributed to.  I hope this work entices some of these leading edge researchers and practitioners to connect.

Bringing it into the local focus of Norwich, I am inviting people who carry out unpaid care work – who might be ‘known’ as parent carers or family carers, or who might not like any label – to talk to me.

There are three connected reasons why I am reaching out to Carers:

  • The ‘Caring’ Economy is changing, and we need to notice what is happening to effect it for local good
  • The way we value care today is at odds with a socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economy, and we need to talk and think about this across where the effects are felt in the wider economy
  • The paradox of involving Carers in political and community organising is just that – there won’t be a perfect way of giving an ‘under-represented’ group an opportunity to engage – but the Commission is intent on listening.

I’m going to keep writing about the Future of our Caring Economy in the coming weeks and months.  I’ll share the emerging insights and evolving questions. 

I’d love to hear from you as this work develops.  

If you know Carers in Norwich, please would you share this with them.