Common Wealth designs ownership models for a democratic and sustainable economy.

Our goal is simple but ambitious: the steady, irreversible replacement of today’s unequal and extractive economy with institutions that share the wealth we create in common, and where freedom, solidarity, and dignity are a universal inheritance.

We cannot get there by tinkering. We have little more than a decade to rapidly and justly transform our economy in the face of climate breakdown. Stark inequalities of power and reward scar our society. Too few have a stake and say in the wealth we create in common. In the face of these challenges, radical, hopeful ambition is the safest way forward.

Ownership matters, vitally, to an ambitious and transformative agenda. How our economy is owned and by whom fundamentally shapes how it operates and in whose interest. Ownership and the distribution of property shapes flows of income, stocks of wealth, and concentrations of power and control in society.

Concentrated and extractive forms of ownership underpin many of the challenges confronting us, driving inequality, disempowering communities, and causing environmental damage. Designing an alternative future demands reimagining and democratising ownership: the radical broadening of ownership, and the rewiring of institutions to give everyone a stake and a say in decision-making.

Common Wealth exists to design the ownership institutions for the new economy. Radical but pluralistic, we are committed to ownership models that are democratic by design, inclusive in action, and social in purpose. There is no single ownership model that can achieve the deep institutional turn we need. Different models will work best at different scales, from place-based approaches to strategies to democratise capital at scale. Above all, we believe the times require restless experimentalism and deep institutional innovation if we are to overcome the challenges confronting us and make the most of our extraordinary collective strengths.

This may appear radical. Yet we know change is possible. Twice before we have transformed our economy at the speed and scale now required, if not the direction. Public ownership underpinned the post-war consensus; privatisation was vital to its undoing. It is time we owned our future again.

Who we are

Common Wealth is a think tank dedicated to democratising ownership. Pluralistic but radical in orientation, we are committed to designing the ownership models of the future.

Our team has deep expertise in the development and communication of transformative, popular ownership policies. We are supported by a network of practitioners and policy experts with wide-ranging experience and knowledge in developing solutions for economic change.

Our team are experts in developing impactful ownership policies, including for IPPR’s Commission on Economic Justice, NEF, and with The Democracy Collaborative. We work with partners from across civil society in the UK to achieve change. Our work in the US is conducted in partnership with The Democracy Collaborative.

Funding

Our work would not be possible without the generous support of a wide range of supporters including charitable trusts, foundations, unions, voluntary sector organisations and individuals.

We are are committed to transparency and will publish full details of our funding in our annual accounts. Our first set of annual accounts will be for the period ending December 2019. To support our work so far, we have received project grants from ECF, Amiel Melburn Trust, Andrew Wainwright Reform Trust, The Democracy Collaborative, the Communication Workers Union (CWU), and the Trades Union Congress (TUC).

If you'd like details so far, please get in touch. We’re always looking for more funding – so if you’re interested in funding get in touch.

Our Director is Mathew Lawrence. Mathew has extensive experience in the design and advocacy of alternative models of ownership. Previously he was a senior research fellow working on IPPR's Commission on Economic Justice, and has collaborated with NEF and The Democracy Collaborative.
Our digital strategist is Josh Gabert-Doyon. Josh has a background in journalism and housing activism. He has been a radio producer with the documentary podcast Cited, a research fellow at 221a gallery in Vancouver and an events programmer with the artbook publisher Fillip.
Amelia Horgan is social media manager at Common Wealth. As a writer and researcher she is interested in contemporary work practices and the philosophy of work. She is currently writing a PhD on feminism and the philosophy of work.
Adrienne Buller is a Senior Research Fellow. Adrienne’s work has focused on the intersection of climate change and the financial system. Prior to joining Common Wealth Adrienne led the Finance Project at InfluenceMap.
Julian Siravo is Common Wealth's urban and design strategist. Originally from Rome, Italy, he is a graduate of both the Bartlett and the RCA. Julian is also head of urban research at Autonomy, where he focuses on the spatial implications of new welfare and employment policies, on ageing populations and sustainable forms of leisure.

Board members

Sahil Dutta

Lecturer, Goldsmiths

Helen Craik

Director of Operations

Emily Kenway

Senior Policy and Communications Advisor at FLEX

Miriam Brett

International Development Finance Manager, Bretton Woods Project

Fran Boait

Director, Positive Money

Joe Guinan

Director, The Democracy Collabrative

Ed Miliband

Labour MP

Aditya Chakrabortty

Journalist