Economic Justice

Why QCEA Works on Economic Justice

Quakers believe that there is ‘that of God in every one’. It follows from this conviction that no one person is inherently better or deserving of respect than another. (This is the source of some of the better-known Quaker traditions from times when respect for the social hierarchy was the norm: Quakers used informal pronouns (thee and thou) and men did not raise their hats to show respect to a social better. And, today, QCEA staff still do not use titles of respect, such as Mr or Ms, but rather the full name of anyone whom we are addressing.)

Many Quakers have long held a concern for economic justice, reconciliation, and the right sharing of world resources. In the past, when Quakers and other non-conformists were denied access to universities in the United Kingdom (which then included the whole of Ireland), many started their own businesses. The concern for right treatment of workers was shown by many Quaker business owners. There is now an active group of Quakers in business in Britain who collaborate on improving best practice, as do many Quakers in other countries as well.

Our actions together create our world: QCEA works to ensure that the world we are creating is the world in which we want to live and to share with other people, including our children.

See also our peace programme projects on the role of EU funding in supporting its values.

Current work

Free trade and economic inequality

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)
The EU is in the process of negotiating a number of free trade deals. The two largest deals are the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement with Canada (signed September 2014, but not yet ratified), and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the United States.

Although free trade is often promoted with promises of increased prosperity, QCEA questions whether the increased wealth predicted will come to ordinary citizens or to multinational corporations. The inclusion in both deals of an investor-state dispute mechanism, by which corporations will be able to sue nations and thereby affect the legislative freedom of democratically elected governments, is of particular concern.

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Links to QCEA publications

Background paper: what is TTIP
A sunset clause for TTIP
QCEA consultation response on ISDS
ISDS: what it is and why we should be concerned (joint publication – see here for other languages)
QCEA blogs on TTIP

Corporate Social Responsibility

QCEA works to ensure that the world we create through our institutions and organisations, reflects our values of peace, human rights, and sustainability. One way in which we can address this is through considering the role of the corporation in society.

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Consultation on corporate social responsibility

Engagement with the European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank, based in Luxembourg, is owned by the 28 Member States of the European Union. It makes significant investments both within the EU and in other countries. The EIB therefore plays an important role in terms of the EU’s economic reach.

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Recent work on the EIB:
Letter to Directors thanking for 2014 CSO meeting and raising issue
Transparency policy consultation response
Environmental and social handbook consultation
Consultation response on environmental policy