It’s time to assert citizen power

The economist and author of the Real World Economic Outlook, Ann Pettifor, told last week’s Soil Association Annual Conference that it was “time to assert citizen power”

Citing Tesco’s recent comeuppance in South Korean (where city planners have created a law banning new urban supermarkets within 1km of small stores), she said that the retail giant had “run up against the buffers of democracy.”

While we had forgotten our role as citizens, the people of South Korea were asserting theirs, Pettifor said. “Relying on activists to fight our corner, as we often do in the West, is not enough to stop the corporate steamroller”.

Pettifor said that we lived in a world increasingly geared towards those with private wealth. She contrasted the .5% interest at which the big banks borrowed from the central banks with the rates that they would then charge to farmers or other small businesses — typically 20% or upwards.

She said that the ‘mathematical’ debts created by “banks making money from money” resulted in senseless cycle of consumption that fuelled exploitation accelerated the destruction of natural resources

She urged organic farmers, and other businesses “creating real products for real people”, to join together as powerful citizen groups to demand better terms from the banks.