Seamus McAleavey, chief executive of NICVA, talks about the council's new event to create a 'good economy'
AT times in the voluntary and community sector we talk of working towards the 'good society', building a society that is a good place to live, work and prosper as a community.
But we don't really talk in terms of the good economy.
It is clear from the economic shock waves of the summer that problems are a long way from being resolved.
The future of the euro is not clear-cut and leading European politicians are thinking more about personal protectionism than the European and global economic crisis.
The EU needs an economic consensus to survive; if it shakes apart, the world economic crisis will be deeper and longer. The obvious solution is take responsibility.
The state of the economy is everyone's business not just politicians, economists, bankers, investors or God forbid, property developers.
Will Hutton of the Work Foundation and a leading UK economic commentator has remarked: "Good capitalism needs to be fashioned and designed.
"Financial orthodoxy can sometimes, especially after credit crunches, be entirely wrong. Once that Rubicon has been crossed, a new policy agenda opens up". He has been very clear that even if we could, would we want to return to a position just before the crash?
The "casino capitalism" of fuelling economies on debt and crazy property speculation needs total reform lest it destroy countries and society itself.
We must start asking ourselves what we need to do to create a good society and how do we create a good economy that benefits everyone. I accept that Northern Ireland is a "wee small place" in the world economy. But what can we do?
NICVA has set up a Centre for Economic Empowerment. We are convinced that if we are to create a good economy, which everyone in society benefits from, more people must join the debate. The voluntary and community sector, businesses, government and trade unions must listen to each other and share ideas on the best way forward.
To help start the conversation NICVA is holding an economic conference this November with a range of local commentators and practitioners and two world class key note speakers, David McWilliams and Will Hutton. Arlene Foster, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment is also taking part.
Informed sources in business and finance are saying that a second credit crunch or liquidity crisis will finish many of our small businesses.
We need to prevent this. For more information on NICVA, the 'Creating the good economy' conference and the Centre for Economic Empowerment, visit www.nicva.org.
I accept that Northern Ireland is a 'wee small place' in the world economy. But what can we do?