The Radical Old Idea is a platform inspired by the historic Scottish enlightenment that seeks to inform a new and better financial paradigm. The periodic intellectual gathering of financial services stakeholders will explore innovative (radical) ideas that deliver positive financial and economic outcomes for the benefit of society.

As economic growth continues to polarise and place greater demands on the world’s natural resources, policy makers and economic thinkers from across the globe are now re-examining the historic belief that only unfettered financial markets deliver the best outcomes for all society.  The Radical Old Idea will focus on exploring areas of systemic change within the economy through world leading experts sharing insights and engaging in an informed and thoughtful debate.

Next event >

The world is changing, people are rethinking.

Scotland - A Proud Heritage

From Adam Smith, renowned as the father of modern economics, to the Reverend Henry Duncan, founder of the world’s first commercial savings bank, Scotland has been a pioneer in financial innovation and the development of professional standards.

Francis Hutcheson - Impact Investing

David Hume - Advanced Analytics

David Hume - Advanced Analytics

Adam Smith - Inclusive Growth

Adam Smith - Inclusive Growth

Rev. Henry Duncan - Financial Inclusion


Enlightened Edinburgh

The Radical Old Idea encourages brave, innovative concepts reinforcing Edinburgh’s position as a global facilitator and HQ for ethical finance.

In convening senior financial practitioners, business leaders, economists and academics 2-3 times a year in Edinburgh The Radical Old Idea restores the city’s rightful place as a hothouse of global economic and social debate.

To encourage an inclusive international approach, we are open to occasionally hosting events elsewhere.

Upcoming Event

Theme: TBC

Previous Events

The Future of Growth

‘The Radical Old Idea: The Future of Growth’, took place on 14 July at 14:00 with renowned ecological economist Prof. Tim Jackson. The ‘Prosperity Without Growth’ author looked at the presumption that our economies should grow year on year.

When the early pioneers of climate science first questioned this in the 1970s, Kenneth Boulding famously stated that “anyone who believes in indefinite growth in anything physical, on a physically finite planet, is either mad or an economist.”

In the interview with Kaisie Rayner, Climate Change Lead at Royal London, Prof. Jackson previewed his latest book ‘Post-Growth: Life after Capitalism’, looking at the case against infinite growth, and asking how we imagine a future without growth.

From banking to pensions, it is taken for granted that companies and economies will continue to expand indefinitely, providing a greater pool of resources for tomorrow than today. This session will asked whether it is possible to wean ourselves off growth, and what this might mean both for those industries which currently depend on it, and their stakeholders, and how to maintain hope during times of crisis. Watch now on EFx.

Tim’s latest book Post Growth can be purchased at

Responsible Business at a Time of Crisis with Alex Edmans

We were delighted to launch the Radical Old Idea series on 23 June with a virtual presentation from Professor Alex Edmans of London Business School who explained the business case for responsibility in normal times as well as those of crisis, and how companies can ensure that responsibility is consistent with long-term shareholder value. Alex drew on rigorous academic research, real-world examples, and his new book, Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit. Watch the highlights now, or read the event summary.

About us

At GEFI we convene financial services stakeholders who share a collective desire to create a financial system that delivers for people and the planet. In shaping this vision, GEFI takes inspiration from the Scottish enlightenment – one of the most important intellectual eras when received wisdom was questioned and new ideas, discussions and debates were encouraged.

Supporting partner

If you are interested in attending, speaking, sponsoring or promoting The Radical Old Idea please get in touch by email.

Email us >