On the 10th July, Development Trusts Association Wales held their annual conference. Inspiring speeches were made by Michael Pyner, Steve Wyler and Peter Williams of the DTA and by Mal Williams of Cylch. Their conclusion, and its a view increasingly held by others, is that the social enterprise sector offers hope for not only a way out of the current recession but for a renaissance in community economic development that is sustainable and ethical.
The credit crunch has been an early sign that the age of consumer-driven global capitalism is coming to an end. Even as the far east seeks to emulate the materialism of the west, the immanent decline in oil production, the exhaustion of mineral resources such as phosphorus and the increasing exploitation of finite reserves of fresh water means that we can be certain of one thing - our world will change. Either we will reconstruct global capitalism based on so far unknown technological advances that will free us from our dependence on fossil fuels or our world will shrink to a global network of localised economies that subsist rather than grow indefinitely. As nothing in nature grows indefinitely I suggest you put your money on the latter scenario.
This means then that the future will be low energy, low carbon, technologically efficient and non-materialistic. While individual entrepreneurs will still continue to emerge, they will have to compete or co-operate with a co-operative and communal enterprise sector that is growing in confidence.