UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Director's Seminar: Rebuilding economics post-covid

08 October 2020, 4:00 pm–6:00 pm

Directors Seminars 2020

The IGP welcomes Ruth Yeoman to give a Director's Seminar

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Institute for Global Prosperity

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Given the risks facing humanity and our planet, post-Covid economic recovery must be a values-led recovery – one that is green, resilient and inclusive. I explore the values and concepts that underpin the necessary rebuilding process. A neglected dimension is our human need for meaning in work and life. I shall discuss how meaningfulness can, not only inform our economic models of human behaviour, but also give us ethical guidance regarding ‘what kind of economy we want’. By paying attention to the kinds of lives that can be lived in an age of coronavirus and climate heating, we come to see one another more clearly, and with more concern and respect for the contributions that others make to our well-being. With this in mind, my aim is to show that investments in humanity are just as important as investments in infrastructure, technology and production, where these investments are formative of human capabilities. As a matter of justice, people are entitled to make their contribution to creating the organisations and systems of a green, resilient, and inclusive economy. Such contributions require complex capabilities, and these capabilities are conducive to meaningful lives. Taking seriously a principle of contributive justice requires a supportive policy ecosystem including Good Work, entitlements to capability development, worker voice, and a diversity of ownership forms.  These policies need to operate within an economic order that is simultaneously de-integrated and re-globalised.

The Speaker: 

Ruth Yeoman

Dr Ruth Yeoman is a Fellow of Kellogg College, University of Oxford. She is an expert in applying the ethics and practices of meaningfulness and mutuality to organisations and systems.

Drawing upon her academic research, she has worked with large and small private and public sector organisations to develop new approaches based on a synthesis of meaningfulness and mutuality. Example research consulting projects include: developing a mutual leadership programme for Rochdale Boroughwide Housing; applying mutuality to whole council public service transformation for Cheshire West and Chester LA; strategic use of mutuality in a coordinated UK financial mutuals sector for the Association of Financial Mutuals and the Building Societies Association. She was a lead consultant for the Cabinet Office 2015 ‘Mutuals in Heath’ initiative. For the Said Business School, Oxford, she helped to establish ‘Mutuality in Business’, funded by Mars Inc. For the Big Innovation Centre, she led a collaboration including the Bank of England and the Office of National Statistics investigating the role of intangible assets in national wealth creation. Ruth has served as a member of the HM Treasury Council of Economic Advisers, a fellow of the Big Innovation Centre and an adviser for the Fabian Society’s Changing Work Centre.

Her research projects include: Ownership, Leadership and Meaningful Work (funded by the British Academy/Leverhulme); Values to Shared Value Creation in Sustainable Supply Chains (funded by Oxford’s John Fell); The Meaningful City (funded by Hermes Investment Management and Tampere University). Ruth has degrees from Imperial College (BSc. Physics), London Business School (MBA), and Royal Holloway, University of London (MA in Politics of Democracy, PhD).

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