Below we imagine what life would be like if the Common Home Plan is completed and the work is all done, what society would be like with the results and how we would all be living.
So, if the Common Home Plan is completed and the work is all done, what would it be like to live in the society which results?
You will live in a house which is warm and draught-free, heated with inexpensive renewable heating and powered by plentiful clean, renewable energy which will be publicly owned. Many more of the services you rely on will be within easy walking distance and longer travel will be in fast and efficient electric vehicles. Food will be healthier, tastier and more local – you'll be eating much less low-quality processed food and much more artisan-quality food grown and processed in Scotland. You'll be much more likely to work in a productive, well-paid job which makes you feel good about yourself. You'll have the chance to own some land and because the economy will be much more local you'll have a much better chance to start a productive small business and gain customers. We'll all work shorter hours.
The products you use will be beautifully designed to produce no waste and they will have almost no plastic in them. They'll be made from simplified materials and be designed to be repaired. You'll find it easy to reject spending money on things you don't really want and you won't even miss disposable plastic novelty goods. You'll get much better access to many more better-quality goods because you'll share them, borrow them or lease them. Share shops and tool libraries mean things you only use occasionally will be borrowed. You'll have more money in your pocket because you won't be replacing poor-quality goods all the time and you won't be buying things you only use sometimes. So you'll spend much less of your money on 'stuff' and much more participating, socialising and relaxing. Advertising and marketing will be greatly reduced and more rigorously controlled so the pressure to spend (and the harm it does to your mental health) will be lifted from you. And you'll be supported to learn new skills.
Scotland's land will be brought back to life. Woodland will spring up everywhere and with it our wildlife will return. We will be a beautiful country of forests, farmland, and wild space, all carefully managed and kept in pristine condition. We will make much more with the produce of our land. We will grow and process more of our own food, we will have advanced timber industries making everything from our construction materials to our consumer goods, we'll have a large energy industry and will start to lead Europe in exporting hydrogen. That manufacturing will take place where the resources and energy are so our woodland will be intermingled with light industry, energy generation and thriving communities where the people who work in these industries live.
The economy will be based not on what we consume but what we make. Rather than an army of salespeople we will have an army of repair engineers, making sure your household goods are constantly upgraded so they last you a lifetime. Finance, advertising and marketing will decline and the investment they currently hoover up will instead go into design, innovation and manufacture. Nothing will be wasted. The economy will be based on a simplified palette of materials and more standardisation – jars and bottles and tins will be reusable because all manufacturers will use the same jars and bottles and tins. There will be no waste and what is not reused, repaired and remanufactured will be recycled into materials from which the next generation of products will be made. Anything left over will compost naturally back into the soil.
As we work less and shop less, our time will become our own again and this will strengthen our communities because people will have the time to participate. Economic reform will free our democracy and let it be powerful and responsive. As we come to value people not for what they own but for what they contribute we will create a lively society where people get involved and where hobbies and pastimes and entertainment and civic action and the arts and culture play a bigger part in our lives. There will be so many new jobs of a high quality, such a reduction in low-quality jobs and new initiatives like a Universal Basic Income that no-one will live in poverty. Governments will stop measuring progress in terms of growth and start measuring progress on quality of life.
And Scotland will be able to hold up its head on the world stage, knowing we have done much more than our bit, knowing that our lives are not fueled by the suffering of the global south, knowing that the days when life in Scotland damaged life on earth is over. We will look forward with hope – and look back with pride.