Just Change research falls into broad categories:
Community Based Action Research to increase the knowledge and information needed by our member groups.To fulfill this aim we undertake community based research on issues of economic significance to our communities.
Conceptual Research to further strengthen and develop the Just Change concept. This is done by the research team of Just Change Trust
Community based Action Research:
The primary aim of this aspect of our research work is to provide the following inputs to our communities:
A comprehensive analysis on the status of the local economy including the production and marketing systems, potential for expansion/ development of production, income-expenditure patterns, savings and investment patterns, governance systems. This research is done by the community members themselves and we have already put a number of studies under our Local Economy Series.
A comprehensive database on commodities, prices, markets, production methods, and prospects for value addition. This includes gathering information on commodities of relevance to our communities and keeping a regular tab on the movement of markets and prices (local, national and international) for these commodities. It also includes interacting and developing relationships with regional or national R&D institutions to help develop value added products or technology that improves efficiency of production and quality of products. This research has resulted in our Commodity Research Series.
Other local community based studies are also undertaken that are specific to that particular community. For instance the studies on the coconut oil making unit and soap making unit of SAWARD. These studies help communities to examine strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in any economic activity that they may undertake. Such activities could relate to primary production, manufacture, value addition, storage, marketing of goods and commodities of the group as well as purchase and sale of goods and commodities from outside their production systems.
Much of this research is done by the community themselves and therefore ensures that the they become part of the process of intelligence and knowledge gathering and hence do not feel that they are mere spectators in a process that leads to prescriptions on the ways they can take control over their economies. It also helps our communities become keen observants of changes in factors that could affect their economies, be it global, national or local factors, and thereby respond appropriately.
Just Change concept is based on theprinciple of emergence and evolution. We believe that conceptual clarity emerges and evolves as we engage with the issue. To facilitate this we also undertake conceptual research on topics that are in keeping with the Just Change proposition. This research is to act as a feeder into our core research activity which is community. While we havenot yet put out any studies on this, we have written numerous articles on the Just Change concept in a range of media. However, two important pieces of research work are in the pipeline.
“Participative Capital: Rethinking the realationship between Labour and Capital”, is based on research done with the fishing community of South India by Stan and Mari Thekaekara as part of their fellowship with The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, Said Business School, Oxford. The yet to be published study, looks at the way the fishing community manage their economy and puts forward a case for “participative capital”, a phrase coined by us to explain how capital investment can work within the Just Change model.
The other piece of work is in collaboration with Feasta, Ireland where we are attempting to develop new financial instruments that will enable “participative capital investment” into Just Change as well as developing local community currencies to ensure more flow of money within the local economy.