Now more than ever, we need to shift to a wellbeing economy that prioritises the health and wellbeing of people and nature.
Our government’s fixation on profit and growth is taking us down a dangerous path. Leading to a widening gap between rich and poor, spiralling poverty, environmental breakdown and a mental health crisis – crises further exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19. But there is an alternative.
The Wellbeing Economy is a fairer, greener and more resilient approach that the UK Government can, and should, adopt without delay – and that’s what sits at the heart of one of our new campaigns for 2021. Alongside politicians from several parties, impassioned celebrities and other civil society organisations, we’ll be calling on the Chancellor to introduce the UK’s first Wellbeing Budget.
A first step is to change how the Treasury tracks prosperity in this country. GDP growth has long been a poor measure of a country’s success. It counts polluting factories and the manufacture of weapons, but tells us nothing about the quality of education our children receive, the availability of well paid and secure jobs or the number of species threatened with extinction. Yet GDP growth is still the UK government’s main economic goal.
By contrast, a Wellbeing Economy would prioritise public health and wellbeing indicators, reorienting our economy towards what matters most. And civil society and the public should play a key role in determining what these new health and wellbeing indicators should be.
The consensus for the shift to a wellbeing economy is growing. Over 11,000 scientists have called on governments to “shift from pursuing GDP growth and affluence toward sustaining ecosystems and improving wellbeing” to tackle the climate emergency. Business leaders are also pressing for an economic reset that recognises human dependence on nature and includes new measures of economic performance beyond GDP. And as we discovered earlier this year, most Brits already agree that the government should prioritise health and wellbeing goals above economic growth.
Wellbeing economics has already been adopted by several countries, cities and local authorities. New Zealand unveiled the world’s first wellbeing economy budget in 2019 and Amsterdam has adopted a Doughnut Economy model to guide the city’s development.
Read more about what a wellbeing economy would look like here. And join the campaign to reprogram our economy to put the health and wellbeing of communities and nature far above short-sighted profit and growth targets.
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