What is a wellbeing economy?

The Wellbeing Economy is a recurring phrase at the moment, thanks in large part to the advocacy work of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, which launched last year. A broad range of organisations have signed up, and a number of governments have been involved too. In May this year, New Zealand became the first country to deliver a ‘wellbeing budget’ – one that puts the wellbeing of its citizens first.

A Wellbeing Economy is one that “allows humanity to determine economics, rather than the other way around”. That implies an economy that distributes wealth, prioritises health and wellbeing, while stewarding the earth’s resources for future generations. It’s an economy in service to people and planet.

“A wellbeing economy will put people at the centre of a new economic purpose and close the gulf between the economy and democratic control” says the alliance. “It will deliver good lives for people first time around, rather than requiring so much effort to patch things up. It will not harm people and the environment, and so will avoid having to deliver expensive down-stream intervention to fix the damage caused by an economic model fixated on growth.”

That’s a fairly good description of what Joy in Enough is out to achieve too. While it can get confusing explaining the circular economy, the green economy, and various other iterations of a possible future, it is worth adding the wellbeing economy to the lexicon. There is energy around the idea. It has reached real-world policy in New Zealand and in other places, including Scotland. We will be hearing more about it, and it may be something we are able to specifically advocate for ourselves too.

To find out more, download the Wellbeing Economy Alliance brochure as a helpful starting point. Visit the online resource hub, which helpfully sorts resources by how much time you might have. And follow the alliance on Twitter to keep up to date.

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