Future Economy Framework
Eban Goodstein, Robin Hahnel, Thomas Power, Juliet Schor
Contact Person: Dr. Kristen Sheeran
Download a PDF of the Future Economy Initiative Framework – Summary
Download a PDF of the Future Economy Initiative Framework – Annotated
E3 Network – Future Economies Initiative
Analytical Framework for Future Economy Innovations
Part One: Innovation
- Please identify and describe the main features of the innovation as precisely as possible.
- Provide a brief history of the origins and evolution of the innovation.
- How does this innovation differ from other efforts designed to address similar needs and challenges?
- How does the innovation address multiple values and priorities?
- What challenge or need does the innovation respond to?
- Does the innovation involve a formal structure? If so, what is it? If not, what kind of informal structure gives it coherence?
- Does this innovation contribute to building, preserving or renewing specific economic or social institutions? If so, which ones, and how? (Examples: common land ownership, cooperative enterprise management, public-private partnerships, collaborative intellectual property, etc.)
Part Two: Evaluation
- Livelihoods and Opportunities
- Needs: Does the innovation meet the specific needs or challenges it was designed to address? If so, how?
- Work and Employment: Does the innovation create opportunities for work and if so, how many? Does it employ under-represented or disadvantaged groups?
- Income and Livelihood: Does the innovation create jobs that provide livable wages and decent benefits? Does the innovation provide non-wage income or other forms of access to goods and services, including non-monetary?
- Opportunities: Do the opportunities created by the innovation improve access to other important livelihood assets such as artistic expression, alternative lifestyle choices, tools, land or garden space, art materials, or communications media?
- Public Sector Impact: What is the impact of this innovation on the public sector, from municipalities to national governments? What is the role of the public sector in developing and supporting this innovation?
- Empowerment and Social Relations: Identify and quantify impacts on the following:
- Participation: Does the innovation increase the participation of employees or constituents in decision making over outcomes important to their well-being?
- Accountability: Does the innovation reduce hierarchies and/or increase the accountability of decision makers or managers?
- Cooperation: Does it promote cooperation, sharing or joint ownership of resources?
- Civic Engagement: Does it promote civic engagement /public participation?
- Behavioral Change and Social Norms: Does the innovation change social norms in the community in any way? Does it encourage other-regarding or self-regarding behaviors? If so, how does it do this?
- Equity: Identify and quantify impacts on the following:
- Income: Does the innovation reduce income inequality in a given region or area?
- Assets: Does the innovation reduce asset inequality in a given region or area?
- Benefits: Does it provide broadly shared benefits or does it disproportionately benefit certain groups in society?
- Access: Does it increase access to basic social goods such as health care and education?
- Security: Does it increase the economic security of vulnerable groups?
- Environment: Identify and quantify impacts on the following:
- Pollution: Does the innovation reduce pollution, toxics, or carbon emissions?
- Habitat and Ecosystem Services: Does the innovation protect/restore habitat and core ecosystem functions?
- Environmental Justice: Does it increase disadvantaged people’s access to environmental goods and services? Does it decrease their exposure to environmental harms?
- Sustainability: Is the innovation ecologically sustainable?
- Adaptive Capacity. Does the innovation create capacities to anticipate and prepare for environmental change, particularly climate change?
- Diversity. Does the innovation support or foster the diversification of local or regional economies?
- Decentralization/ Modularity. Does the innovation promote economic decentralization?
Part Three: Contributing Factors
- What is the nature of the organizational environment within which this innovation is embedded? (Examples: industry clusters, partnerships, supply chains, financing structures.)
- On what other organizations does it rely for financial or physical resources, expertise, or labor? (Examples: other firms/orgs, foundations, banks, consultants, universities, labor unions, community organizations, the Internet.)
- Were certain legal or regulatory pre-conditions necessary for this innovation to emerge? Are there legal or regulatory barriers that constrain or impede the innovation’s emergence and success? Please describe.
- How does interaction with its social environment (e.g. families, communities, religious organizations, neighborhood associations, voluntary associations) affect its resilience and replicability?
- How does interaction with its political environment (e.g. elected officials, government agencies, or political parties) affect its resilience and replicability?
- What role do material incentives, social sanctions, and reciprocity motives play in establishing, maintaining or transforming the innovation?
- Is the innovation scalable? Are there economies or diseconomies of scale? Or can it work across a variety of scales – neighborhood, municipality, region, nation or beyond? Please elaborate.
- Might this innovation be replicated in other social, political, or economic contexts? If so, in which other contexts would it be appropriate? If not, why not?
- Does the innovation catalyze additional economic development or further economic innovations? Does it owe its emergence to other, catalytic innovations? Please elaborate.
- Does the innovation displace or supplant any institutions from an earlier period in economic life (or BAU)? If so, which ones and how?
- Does the emergence and success of this innovation entail any unintended consequences, desirable or otherwise, for communities, the environment, or local and regional economies? If so, please elaborate.
- What are the major vulnerabilities of this innovation? How might those vulnerabilities be addressed?
Appendix: Multiple Capitals
Researchers, if they choose, may use the capitals framework to structure their discussion of future economy innovations:
- Natural Capital
- Social Capital
- Human Capital
- Financial Capital
- Built Capital
- Cultural Capital