In the days following the publication of the UK budget this workshop aimed to change the terms of debate on the UK economic ‘recovery’. The event forged an important dialogue about the known, as well as barely discovered, spaces, places and people who make up ‘the economy’. This is the first event of an ESRC-sponsored seminar series, organised jointly with SPERI, Sheffield.

The starting point is the problematic notion of ‘recovery’, which the established orthodoxy equates with the end of recession. According to the National Accounts, if the UK produces more economic outputs in one quarter than in the previous quarter, the economy is growing again and firmly ‘in recovery’; even if those outside of London and the South East or on median incomes are not experiencing it.

To understand ‘recovery’ only in terms of a return to GDP growth—at whatever rate—masks more than it reveals. A return to pre-crisis growth does not equal success; and to consider it so forecloses opportunities to rethink the central economic issues that face British economy and society. If we accept that ‘recovery’ fails to speak for itself through strategically selected indicators of enhanced production or growth, then we can truly begin to explore how it actually materialises in people’s real lived experience of ‘the economy’.

It’s time to place our focus on economic ‘discovery’. This will be challenging and dynamic event that seeks to build networks and create a platform for engagement among like-minded people seeking new ways of thinking about the economy.

Speakers included: Ann Pettifor (Director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics)​, Andrew Gamble (Author of Crisis Without End? ), Steve Keen (Kingston University), Mat Lawrence (Institute for Public Policy Research), James Meadway (New Economics Foundation), Ruth Pearson (Gender Budget Group), Andrew McGettigan (Author, The Great University Gamble), Brett Scott (Author, Heretics Guide to Global Finance), Andrew Leyshon and Shaun French (Nottingham), Engelbert Stockhammer (Kingston), Mick Moran (Manchester).

Follow the debate here!