The People's Prescription report launch


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Thank you, Jim. I must say that you're the perfect symbol of so much of what we're going to talk about today, which is the courage to fight a battle - the whole (UNCLEAR) AMR review, which was done really well, in terms of the different stakeholders that you brought into the conversation - but also as chief economist of Goldman Sachs, which helped fuel the last financial crisis - and then all the mea culpa and thinking within the financial sector of how do we actually reform the economy, including de-financialising it - again, you've been a important spokesman for that; and I think we're going to be bringing up in the conversation today - I sure will - this whole question of finance. Finance, is it neutral? How we actually finance things ends up affecting what actually happens in particular sectors. But first, this was very, very much of a collective effort -  and you see all their banners and propaganda here behind us - but let me say the key organisations involved, besides (UNCLEAR) , which is a new department at UCL; there is Global Justice Now, Just Treatment, Stop AIDS, and also the funder - at least for our part of it, the UCL part of it - The Open Society Foundation; and inside the room are some of these individuals from those organisations, that were also authors. Heidi Chow from Global Justice Now; Saoirse Fitzpatrick from Stop Aids; Dermot McDonald from Just Treatment; Ellen 't Hoen, I don't think she's here but she's from Medicine and Policy; and then from the IIPP team there was different people involved including Andrea Laplane, Tiziana Masini - who worked an immense amount on it as a postdoc funded by the grant - we're very happy to have him he joined us a couple months ago. Anyway, what we're going to be talking about actually goes to the heart of what the Institute for Innovation of Public Purpose cares about, and the reason why we're also a department and not a policy outfit. We actually believe that we need new teaching programs, we need new types of training in order to think about the issues that we'll be talking about today around say public value and public purpose; not the rate of growth but its direction, and how that direction is actually set in this more collective way. There isn't really a strong framework for that in economics; so often when we do think about different types of policies that are needed - whether it be in this health space or the future of the digital economy - unfortunately we get very quickly into a fixing mode; fix different types of market failures. That's sort of economics speak, but just think of fixing a problem when it arises; and at the centre of this report is the view that actually, what we require is a much more ambitious agenda about co-creating and co-shaping markets between the different actors in a system.  

That obviously includes business; this is not meant to be and it shouldn't read like an anti-business report. There's different types of businesses, small medium and large; there's different types of public agencies and actors and departments, and they themselves can be structured in different ways. There's a very important role for civil society organisations and philanthropies; I always tell people, don't forget that capitalism wouldn't be capitalism without trade unions, who fought for the eight-hour work day and weekends. Even those kinds of voices have always been important for actively shaping markets. 

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