This blog was first published by SDG Transformations Forum

Politics and the art of living together

Ours is a world where:

Fixing these inequalities will need a better story of shared prosperity, a shared prosperity that is a matter of politics in the sense of how Aristotle described it – the art of living together. This better story is the focus of our new book, The Economics of Arrival: Ideas for a Grown-Up Economy. 

The inequalities are a product of an economic system that is underpinned by a legitimizing story. It’s a story that pervades much of the public imaginary, telling us that things must be this way, that we are all better off when the rich do well. It informs the articles of faith held by politicians in capital cities around the world, the policy advice offered to so-called ‘developing countries’ by international agencies, and the metrics that so often rank the success of a country and thus the prowess of its leaders.

The art of living together, has, in the past, seen monetary wealth used thoughtfully to deliver unprecedented economic and social progress. From the economic crash of 1929 to the 1970s, the industrialised world enjoyed a sustained period of economic equalisation as the gap between rich and poor declined, even through the tragedies of the Great Depression and the Second World War. Union rights expanded, and gender inequality fell as women stepped into new roles in society and the economy. Workers enjoyed a higher share of the global economic pie via increased labour share. Education raised skill levels, boosting job quality and remuneration (and raising wages for low skilled workers as their labour became more valuable). The tax system became more progressive, and a lot of the revenue was spent on social welfare. Many people in many places are richer and better educated than ever before and can look forward to longer lives in a fairer and more tolerant world.

However, many aspects are now threatened by climate change, inequality, extremist politics, and environmental degradation. Having achieved so much, the next generation may see achievements begin to slip away. Others, who can only dream of the living standards of the rich world, find themselves shut out as competition for resources and the consequences of climate change erode economic gains as fast as development can proceed. The story of progress as economic growth is faltering.

The possibility of Arrival

If humanity is to ensure it can live together into the future, it needs to embrace a new story found in the twin concepts of ‘Arrival’ and ‘making ourselves at home’.

Arrival is a recognition that economies do not need to grow forever and ever; that there comes a time when enough wealth and resources have been accumulated, albeit if still far from being shared sufficiently.

After Arrival the benefits of growth start to tail off and turn negative. Pursuit of more and more risks causing harm and damage to people and planet and requires yet more resources to fix. This is called ‘failure demand’ in social policy terms. It also speaks to the notion of defensive expenditures used in ecological economies and underpins the concept of uneconomic growth in respect to the economy writ large.

A new story is due – one about making ourselves at home.

Making ourselves at home

Describing what “making ourselves at home” entails is, in fact, a matter of listening.

There are clear commonalities from different corners of scholarship, religious texts, and more popular songs than one could mention. The answer is also innately within us as human beings. Whenever people are given time and space to reflect about what matters most to them, they point to things that are rarely connected to mountains of money.

A suite of evidence tells us that people are not happiest when they are consuming, but when spending time socialising and engaged in meaningful activity. Not when working longer hours to make more money, but when they are in nature, learning, and undertaking fulfilling activities. This is revealed in emerging research in neuroscience, epidemiology, and psychology. Neuroscience, for example, tells us that cooperative behaviour activates the reward areas of the brain, which suggests that human beings are ‘hard-wired’ to enjoy helping others, cooperating, and being kind. In fact, life expectancy; voice; government accountability; climate and natural capital are more important than GDP per capita in predicting mean levels of life satisfaction in 79 countries.

An economy that has Arrived, and is focused on making itself at home, will be one that enables people to build good, healthy lives. Using resources in a smarter, fairer way (rather than wasting or hoarding them) means getting things right for people in the first place, rather than having to constantly repair the damage created by an economy set on growth at all costs. 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 the growth-ist economic model.

By: Katherine Trebeck and Jeremy Williams, authors of The Economics of Arrival: Ideas for a Grown-Up Economy.  Katherine is also an At-Large SDG Transformations Forum Councillor.

WEAll members and Ambassadors are involved with a major new research centre at the University of York. The below article first appeared on the University of York website here.

The Leverhulme Trust Board has announced it will fund up to £10 million over the next 10 years to establish a new centre for research on biodiversity change at the University of York.

The Centre will explore scientific and societal perspectives on the Anthropocene
The Centre was one of three successful bids in the 2018 Leverhulme Research Centre awards. Other recipients are at Imperial College London and the University of Oxford.

The Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity will explore the different scientific, social and cultural perspectives on the Anthropocene, during a time of biological gains as well as losses, and human benefits as well as harms.

Professor Chris Thomas, Director of the new Centre, said: “The Centre will bring together world-leading researchers to understand the neglected societal and biological processes that underpin biodiversity gains, in addition to examining the causes and consequences of losses.

“A deep understanding of the cultural as well as biological processes that drive changes to the world’s biodiversity is needed if humanity is to live sustainably on our planet.”

The £30 million Leverhulme competition was designed to encourage original research which would establish or reshape a significant field of study and transform understanding of an important topic in contemporary societies.

Professor Gordon Marshall, Director of the Trust, said: ‘Leverhulme Trust Research Centres are a major investment in discovery-led inquiry at a time when funding for fundamental scholarship is under great pressure.

“Each Centre will embrace multi-disciplinary and international collaborations designed to bring the highest calibre of expertise to bear on these exciting areas of inquiry.”

The Centre will also benefit from expertise across the University, including researchers from the Departments of Archaeology; Biology; Computer Science; English; Environment; Health Sciences; History; Maths; Philosophy; Politics; Psychology; and Sociology.

Professor Deborah Smith, the University’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, said: “We are delighted to have been successful in our application to establish a Leverhulme Centre at York. Professor Thomas and his colleagues will investigate some of the most significant issues influencing our planet and its populations, both human and otherwise.

“The Centre will draw upon York’s expertise in interdisciplinary research to drive world-leading investigation, involving experts both in the UK and internationally, that will change the way in which we view our world and the survival of those that inhabit it.”

This blog was originally posted here and is reposted with kind permission of Local Futures

With Christmas coming up, household consumption will soon hit its yearly peak in many countries. Despite homely pictures of tranquility on mass-produced greeting cards, Christmas is more about frenzied shopping and overspending than peace on earth or quality time with family and friends. As with so much of our lives, the holidays have been hijacked by the idea that satisfaction, even happiness, is only one more purchase away.

Two generations ago, my Norwegian grandmother was overjoyed as a child when she received one modest gift and tasted an imported orange at Christmastime. In the modern era of long-distance trade and excess consumption, nobody gets even mildly excited by tasting a foreign fruit or receiving a small gift. Instead, adults dive into a cornucopia of global food (typically followed by a period of dieting) while children expect numerous expensive gifts – with designer clothes and electronic toys, games, and gadgets topping the list.

This comparison is not meant to romanticize the past or demean the present: it’s just a small example of how consumption has come to replace the things that give real meaning to our lives– like creating something with our own hands, or sharing and interacting with others. In the process, we have been robbed of the ability to take pleasure from small wonders.

Most of us are aware that excessive consumption is a prime feature of modern life, and that it is the cause of multiple social and environmental problems. We are living in a so-called “consumer culture” – a rather fancy title for something that has more in common with an abusive affliction, like bulimia or alcoholism, than it does with real living culture.

Rampant consumerism doesn’t happen by itself: it is encouraged by an economic system that requires perpetual economic growth.

When national economies show signs of slowing down, citizens are invariably called upon to increase their consumption, which in a country like the US represents 70 percent of GDP. Curiously, when talk turns to the downside of consumerism – resource depletion, pollution, or shoppers trampled at Wal-Mart – it is the greed supposedly inherent in human nature that gets the blame. Rather than look at the role of corporate media, advertising, and other systemic causes of overconsumption, we are encouraged to keep shopping – but to do so “responsibly”, perhaps by engaging in “green consumerism”, a galling oxymoron.

I have no doubt that consumerism is linked with greed – greed for the latest model of computer, smartphone, clothes or car – but this has nothing to do with human nature. This sort of greed is an artificially induced condition. From early childhood our eyes, ears and minds have been flooded with images and messages that undermine our identity and self-esteem, create false needs, and teach us to seek satisfaction and approval through the consumer choices we make.

And the pressure to consume is rising, along with the amount of money spent on advertising. It is forecast that global advertising expenditure will hit $568 billion for 2018, a 7.4 percent increase over 2017.[1] According to UN figures, that amount of money would be sufficient to both eradicate extreme poverty and foot the bill for measures to mitigate the effects of climate change worldwide. [2]

Instead, we are “groomed to consume”. In the US, this means that the average young person is exposed to more than 3,000 ads per day on television, the internet, billboards and in magazines, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.[3] While the figure may be lower in other countries, people everywhere are increasingly exposed to advertising – particularly through the internet, which now has over 4 billion users globally.[4] In fact, half of the global “consumer-class” can now be found in the developing world. Although per capita consumption in China and India remains substantially less than in Europe, those two countries now consume more in total than all of Western Europe.[5]

Marketing strategies – advertising, celebrity trend-setting, product placement in movies and TV shows, marketing tie-ins between media and fast food franchises, etc. – have evolved to target an ever younger audience, all the way down to the one-year old, according to sociologist Juliet Schor. In her book Born to Buy, she defines “age compression” as the marketing to children of products that were previously designed for adults.[6] Examples include makeup for young girls, violent toys for small boys, and designer clothes for the first grader. Schor’s research shows that the more children are exposed to media and advertising, the more consumerist they become; it also shows that they are more likely to become depressed, anxious and develop low self-esteem in the process.

However, children can become victims of the corporate-induced consumer culture even without direct exposure to advertising and media, as I learned during a year spent in my native Denmark, together with my then 12-year old son. Prior to our stay in Denmark, we lived in rural Mexico with limited exposure to TV, internet and advertising, and surrounded by children from homes with dirt floors, wearing hand-me-down clothes. The need for designer wear and electronic gadgets had therefore never entered my son’s mind.

However, after a few months of trying to fit in with Danish children, he became a victim of fashion, exchanging his usual trousers for the trend of the time – narrow sleek pants with diaper bottoms that impeded proper movement. Soon, style alone wasn’t enough: the right brand name of clothes was added to the list of things required for happiness. The same process was repeated in other parts of life: in Mexico, play would consist of an array of invented games, but a month in Denmark was sufficient for my son to feel too ashamed to invite anyone home because he didn’t own an Xbox. During that year, he cried bitter tears over the absence of things that he had never lacked before – video games, Samsung galaxies, iPads and notebooks.

This rapid conversion of a unique individual into a global consumer wasn’t a direct result of advertising, but of the indirect influence of corporations on our minds and lives. The other children were as much victims as my own child, having to a large extent been robbed of the possibility to develop their own (corporate-free) identity and the imagination and creativity that comes with childhood.

Shifting away from a model based on ever increasing consumption is long overdue. On a personal level, we can take positive steps by disengaging from the consumer culture as much as possible, focusing instead on activities that bring true satisfaction – like face-to-face interaction, engaging in community and spending time in nature.

In our very small rural community in Mexico, we have tried to do just that in our daily lives. Christmas for us is a communal celebration running over several days, which includes lots of homegrown, cooked and baked foods, music, dancing and playing, both indoors and outdoors. A major part of the celebration is a gift exchange that celebrates our skills and creative powers. Rather than buying a multitude of gifts, we make one gift each to give to another person. Who we give to is decided in advance in a secret draw of names, not revealed until the exchange. For a month in advance, our community is buzzing with creative energy, as everybody – children and adults alike – is busy planning and making amazing gifts. Presenting our gift is the highlight of our celebration, even for the youngest. Thus the coin has been flipped from consumption to creation and from receiving to giving.

However, while personal changes like this matter, it is not enough to turn the tide: structural changes are also required.

Despite dwindling natural resources, increasing levels of pollution and CO2 emissions, and the many social costs of consumerism, no nation-state has yet been willing to renounce the economic growth model. This will not change until people pressure their governments to disengage from this economic model and to put the brakes on corporate control. This may sound undoable, but the current system is man-made and can be unmade. The trade treaties and agreements that favor corporations over nations, global over local, profit over people and planet, can be revoked and transformed. All it may take is an alliance of a few strategic countries willing to say “STOP”, to start a movement of nations willing to reclaim their economies.

When Jorge Mario Bergoglio was ordained Pope Francis, he came out with a public critique of the prevailing economic system that still rings true:

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world… This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”[7]

Yet, the blind belief in the economic growth model is waning, as ever more people realize that the present economic model is playing havoc with people and planet. Even the strongest proponents of the current system are finding it harder to repeat the “more economic growth is the solution” mantra.

So let’s downscale consumption this Christmas and celebrate creativity, community and our shared home – planet earth. Rather than commit to dieting in the new year, let’s commit to joining the call for systemic change – away from a destructive global casino economy that concentrates power and wealth, towards place-based economies operating under democratic control and within ecological limits, with global wellbeing in mind.

 

1] McNair, Corey, “Global Ad Spending”, eMarketer.com, May 4, 2018. https://www.emarketer.com/content/global-ad-spending

[2] “State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015”, UN Food & Agriculture Organization. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i4646e.pdf; Ritchie, Hannah, “How much will it cost to mitigate climate change?”, Our World in Data, May 27, 2017. https://ourworldindata.org/how-much-will-it-cost-to-mitigate-climate-change

[3] “Children, Adolescents, and Advertising”, Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, vol. 118, number 6, December 2006. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/118/6/2563.full

[4] “300+ Internet Usage Statistics for 2020”, SupplyGem.com. https://supplygem.com/internet-usage-statistics/

[5] “The State of Consumption Today”, from State of the World 2004, Worldwatch Institute.

[6] Schor, Juliet B., Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture” (2004).

[7] Goldfarb, Z. and Michelle Boorstein, “Pope Francis denounces ‘trickle-down’ economic theories in critique of inequality”. The Washington Post, November 26, 2013. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/pope-francis-denounces-trickle-down-economic-theories-in-critique-of-inequality/2013/11/26/e17ffe4e-56b6-11e3-8304-caf30787c0a9_story.html

 

This post was adapted from Anja’s 2012 post, “Born to Buy?”

Black Friday image by John Henderson (cc by ND 2.0)

 

In November, Sistema B hosted the first world meeting of the BCorp movement in Puerto Varas, Chile.

The organisers shared this letter with all who attended:

Greetings from the president of Chile 

The president of the Republic of Chile, Sebastian Piñera didn’t want to miss out on Encuentro +B. He even sent us greetings from afar. Let’s check it out!

Open Letter to the governments of the G20 nations

One of the important milestones of Encuentro+ B was the presentation of the open letter to the G20 nations , which will meet in Argentina on November 30 to discuss the global economy.

Today, more than ten years after the global financial crisis, a group of business leaders, purpose-driven entrepreneurs and impact investors have come together to summon G20 countries to help build an economic system that is useful to people and the planet.

You can check it out and join at change.org  to see the open letter signed by The B Team, B Lab , GSG and Sistema B, supported by the We-All Global Alliance.

Help us share the message on social networks to reach out to world leaders. Here you will find posts and graphs that will help you.

Missed the lectures?
If you missed the lectures, do not worry because everything is recorded here:

On Tuesday 20th November, Steve Murrells, CEO of the Co-operative Group UK gave a bold speech to the National Social Value Conference in Manchester.

WEAll is sharing (with permission from the Co-operative Group) some highlights of the speech, as an example of a business that is showing leadership in changing its relationship to society.

“Why leadership matters – How business must change its relationship to society” – extracts from Steve Murrells’ speech      

The Co-op Group is a £10bn a year operation. We have three and half thousand Co-op food stores across the UK and we supply wholesale to more than 5,000 shops run by Nisa partners and Costcutter.

In addition, we’re the country’s biggest provider of funeral services with 1,000 funeral homes. We offer legal help too and we’re now the number one provider of probate in the UK and we have a successful insurance business.

The top mutual and social enterprise businesses pay more tax in the UK than Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple combined. Although, that may say more about them than us!

Businesses driven by a social purpose are on the increase. There are good reasons for this, which I’m going to come on to.

I think we must remember that most of the social and economic challenges facing our country existed long before June 23rd 2016 [Brexit referendum in the UK].

In business itself I’m thinking of issues such as: trust, corporate transparency, accountability, executive pay, diversity, gender and inclusion.

As for the broader social issues: I had in mind

  • the growing economic divide between the most and least well-off, both in the UK and around the world.
  • the consequences of a global way of doing business that’s left too many people – and whole communities – as losers.
  • A Health Service under incredible strain
  • the lack of affordable homes for a younger generation, and the likelihood that today’s young people entering the workforce will be less well off than their parents or even grandparents’ generation.

And then there’s climate change.

From Ke-roola in India, to Cumbria in the UK, extreme flooding is already causing regular chaos and destruction.

Watching the terrible news of the dead and the missing after the wildfires in California, it’s clear that even the richest state in the richest country in the world cannot protect its citizens from climate change.

As an insurance provider, climate change already has to be factored in to our business planning.

But despite all of the evidence that global warming is no longer a potential risk but a current crisis, we’re still failing to face into it.

Not only are the challenges we face considerable, our ability to tackle them is hindered by our divisions. We have never lived in a more divided society:

  • The distrust towards government and traditional sources of authority
  • The Brexit arguments which divide households across Britain
  • The growth of strident nationalism across Europe
  • The tribal ‘culture wars’ that are scarring the United States

There is much that is broken in societies across the world.

And I believe business needs to acknowledge its part in creating this situation.

Trust in big business is at an all-time low.

It appears to be part of the problem, not part of the solution.

That’s due to a lack of transparency, a perception of tax avoidance, a feeling that there’s too much greed in the boardroom.

Of course most businesses don’t deserve this kind of harsh criticism. But there’s too many that do. And too many that think they’re doing a better job than they really are.

Business should care about their contribution to the communities they serve because all the research tells us that the upcoming generation of employees and customers care about it very much. Deloitte found that 92% of millennials believe that business should be measured by more than just profit and should focus on a social purpose too. In just seven years’ time, millennials will make up 75% of the global workforce. On what criteria do you think they’ll choose where to invest their time and talent.

At the Co-op…the question has never been: “Do we have a social responsibility in addition to generating profits?”

But rather: “How do we best express the social responsibility we were set up to address in the first place?”

One thing the Co-op has learnt over the years is that you cannot ‘do good’ in society unless you are also running a good business.

We have to be commercially successful. We do not operate in some kind of ‘Co-op bubble’ untouched by the rest of the world. Even our most passionate co-op members will not stick with us if our food shops are shoddy or our services are second rate.

But equally, we must not forget why we’re here.

There’s no point being exactly the same as everyone else. In our case, we could succeed as a business, but fail as a Co-op.

Mainstream business often makes the mistake of thinking that social enterprise is charity by another name.

At the Co-op we don’t see the good things we do for the community as some kind of corporate philanthropy. Nor is it merely a cost to our marketing budget.

And as a national business, operating in every postal area in the country, we choose to speak out and campaign on issues of local concern to our millions of members.

Social Isolation, Modern Slavery, and Safer Communities are three issues we’re campaigning on and talking about at a national and local level.

I don’t want you to think that we’ve totally cracked how to be a socially driven business operating at a national scale.

I talked earlier about climate change.

It’s an issue which has no respect for national borders.

We need international level playing-fields if business is to take the necessary actions to radically reduce our dependence on a carbon based economy.

Governments, acting internationally, have to lead on this. But politics and long-term thinking don’t always go together.

So business must help by giving our politicians the confidence and economic mandate to go further in their legislation and planning.

 

By Katherine Trebeck, Wellbeing Economy Alliance

In one of the most artificial surroundings it is possible to imagine – a purpose-built conference zone near Incheon in South Korea – three thousand people gathered to explore the future of wellbeing. This was the 6th wellbeing forum hosted by the OECD’s statistics unit, a team that has been at the forefront of measuring quality of life for over a decade.

Discussions ranged from how data can help in the post-truth era to resilience and social protection. Nobel laureates, royalty, heads of international agencies joined with statisticians, civil servants, and academics to debate and learn from each other about the state of play in measurement and the implications for policy making.

And amongst it all, WEAll was making its presence felt.

Wellbeing Economy Governments

WEAll was able to join the launch of the Wellbeing Economy Governments initiative. WEGo is something the WEAll team initiated (pre-dating the official formation of WEAll) and has been supporting for some time. Seeing it ‘go live’ was an important juncture for the wellbeing economy agenda and WEAll’s role in it.

WEGo is a partnership of national and regional governments, led by Scotland and joined by the likes of New Zealand and Iceland. It will promote sharing of expertise and best practice in designing an economy in service of collective. Its participants are civil servants and ministers who recognise that ‘development’ in the 21st century is a matter of delivering human and ecological wellbeing: wellbeing for people and planet.

The stated objectives of WEGo are:

  • COLLABORATE in pursuit of innovative policy approaches to create wellbeing economies – sharing what works and what doesn’t to inform policymaking for change.
  • PROGRESS toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in line with Goal 17, fostering partnership and cooperation to identify approaches to delivering wellbeing.
  • ADDRESS the pressing economic, social and environmental challenges of our time.

The primary mechanism to advance these goals is a Policy Lab through which government officials will share relevant experience and expertise. Agenda items will include: protecting the natural world, addressing child poverty, undertaking wellbeing budgeting, utilising predictive analytics, and shaping government performance frameworks. In 2019 WEGo’s first Policy Lab will take place and an inaugural gathering of Senior Officials and Ministers from member states is planned to discuss progress in creating wellbeing economies.

Gary Gillespie, the Chief Economist for the Scottish Government, whose office is the secretariat for WEGo, described it as ‘bringing the economic lens back in’ to the wellbeing agenda. Bennedikt Arnason of the Icelandic government spoke of WEGo as the ‘ideal platform to contribute, to share and promote policy making for greater wellbeing’. Professor Joseph Stiglitz described WEGo as a ‘fascinating and important initiative of these governments: putting wellbeing into practice’.

Professor Stiglitz also spoke of the importance of persisting – and this has been the story of getting WEGo to where it is now. It has been a bumpy road as political changes altered governmental priorities (and government personnel). But while WEGo is still a small, fledging project, it has potential to shift the conversation about how economies are designed, how they work, and what they deliver. WEAll will be there cheering it on and helping input to its activities.

WEAll on the main stage

The conference also provided the chance to introduce WEAll into conversations about governance and whole-of-government policy frameworks – I moderated a session on the latter and joined a roundtable on the former and also spoke at an event hosted by the University of Melbourne exploring the importance of community participation in development of beyond-GDP indices and how to bring the lessons of these indices into political decision making.

From Incheon into action

The OECD is playing an important role in upping the ante on wellbeing. In part by hosting these (massive!) global conferences every few years where the big names and rock stars of the wellbeing measurement movement join researchers and people working on translating the ideas and evidence into better government decisions. But, also by ensuring that the statistics and measurements are available, that the frameworks for thinking about operationalising the agenda are shared, and by reinforcing the importance of a broad-based understanding of wellbeing that takes account of people’s circumstances (including future generations), not simply how they report they are feeling.

This matters – the OECD is a large and influential agency. Its reports are read by governments, its assessments of respective country’s performance spurs debate, and its policy recommendations are keenly attended to. Many of the speeches and discussions at the conference wouldn’t have been unfamiliar in WEAll members’ calls. And that gives cause to hope that the momentum and drive to build a wellbeing economy is building in many quarters and (dare we hope?) heading into the mainstream.

 

 

Thriving Resilient Communities (TRC)
2019 Movement Strategy Dialogue

The Thriving Resilient Communities Collaboratory (TRCC) invites you to join them in exploring this question as we enter 2019:

What would you like to learn about building thriving, resilient communities, and how can we better support those doing so across the world?

This is a participant-led conversation taking place now through January 7, 2019 and you can be part of it.

Zoom calls take place on a schedule that evolves to meet participant needs. The Dialogue process also makes use of Facebook, Google docs, and Slack. Details when you register.  See the current agenda (which is developing on an ongoing basis) here.

About the TRC Movement Strategy Dialogue

This is the fourth annual iteration of the Dialogue, which is hosted by the Thriving Resilient Communities Collaboratory (TRCC), a network of regional and national organizational leaders who are working to revitalize local communities across the USA.  Its purpose is to learn more about how we can support those who are building thriving, resilient communities across the US and the world.

Intended results of this collective inquiry include:

  • Creating a space for shared learning on the connection between local scale transformation and regional/national/global structures for collaboration, as well as on ways to democratize philanthropy
  • Connecting people and organizations within and beyond the TRCC community, both for general networking and to onboard new TRCC member organizations (see the next page for a list of current member orgs)
  • Celebrating our work over the past year, and nourishing our souls so we move into the new one with greater energy and solidarity
  • Supporting the 2019 cycle of the collaborative funding initiative facilitated by the TRCC in partnership with the Threshold Foundation.  
    • This includes identifying overall strategies for our grantmaking, potential grantee nominees, and potential funding partners.
  • Seeding new collaborations

TRCC is especially excited about the participation of new people in this year’s engagement, as they seek to learn from Thriving Resilience work being done around the world, and to expand their core community of US-focused organizational leaders.  

Check out this harvest “Prezi” for a sense of what emerged from last year’s Dialogue.

This document provides a full overview of the 2018 Dialogue, along with links to notes and videos from the nineteen conversations that took place, an annotated resource list compiled by participants, and a set of seven “mini-learning journey stories” that capture some of the essence of what was learned and experienced.

Current TRCC Community Member Organizations

 

Bloom Network
Center for Economic Democracy
Compassion Games
The Connection Partners
Cooperative Development Institute
Daily Acts
The Gaiafield Network
Geoversiv Foundation
The Grassroots Fund
Institute for Evolutionary Leadership
Integrative Permaculture
Local 20/20
Movement Generation
Music as Medicine
New Economy Coalition
New Stories
NorCal Resilience Network
Permaculture Action Network
Post Carbon Institute
Regenerate Change
Shareable
Social Transformation Project
Sociocracy For All
Sustainable Economies Law Center
Threshold Foundation
Transition US

 

Each month, members of the WEAll Amplification team (Amp team) share what they’ve been working on, and their priorities for the coming month.

Find out more about our team members here 

Ana Gomez 

  • What’s kept you busy in November?
    • Just like last month, I’ve been onboarding and meeting with new members – the network is growing all the time!
    • Creating new ways for members to connect with WEAll and each other – it’s great to see lots of activity in our new Facebook group
    • Developing ideas and plans for local level engagement with WEAll

    November highlight:

    • All the wonderful, energising conversations I’ve had with new and potential members

    December priorities:

    • Further development of the WEAll local hubs plan
    • Spending important time together as a team in Glasgow

Lisa Hough-Stewart 

What’s kept you busy in November?

  • Planning events with Katherine around the launch of her book in January, where we’ll invite people to discuss advancing the wellbeing economy in Scotland
  • Building the website for NESI Global Forum 2019 and getting comms ready for the launch of ticket sales
  • Planning the development of WEAll Citizens

November highlight:

  • Having energetic meetings with Isabel to develop ideas for WEAll Citzens

December priorities:

  • Having a scoping meeting with members to develop Citizens
  • Launching ticket sales for NESI and promoting it to the world
  • Spending time together with the team in Glasgow

 

Katherine Trebeck

What’s kept you busy in November?

  • A trip to Rio where I was so inspired by the CollaborAmerica conference, it was an honour to deliver a keynote talk there. I also had the chance to catch up with the wonderful This Is Not The Truth project
  • Travelling to Korea for the OECD Future of Wellbeing event – I was part of panel discussions on creating a wellbeing economy
  • Taking forward our narrative work, getting ready for collaborative meetings in Lancaster in the new year

November highlight:

  • Being there for the launch of the Wellbeing Economy Governments initiative in Korea, very proud to see this come to fruition after years of involvement with its development

December priorities:

  • Pursuing fundraising opportunities, especially some exciting opportunities in Scotland

A rare month without travel, and the rest is much needed!

Stewart Wallis

What’s kept you busy in November?

  • A big focus on governance, working with members to finalise a proposal for decision making and strategy within WEAll
  • A fundraising push with a particular focus on USA based trusts
  • Meeting and introducing to the Amp team new partners in the business and finance areas
  • Contributing to the Research Cluster alongside Katherine including pursuing contacts with the T20 group (Think tank 20)
  • Contributing to the development of our Citizens work, alongside Lisa
  • Working on a Technology chapter for a new book edited by key members of the Research Cluster
  • Presenting an hour long webinar for a catholic TV station with huge online audience

November highlight:

  • Really constructive meetings about governance – it has been a pleasure collaborating with our members and learning from them

December priorities:

  • Finalising the governance plans with the wider group of members
  • Major focus on fundraising

Michael Weatherhead

What’s kept you busy in November?

  • Development of content for NESI Global Forum 2019 working with an excellent group of contributors from the WEAll membership. The programme is shaping up nicely
  • Working with the business cluster to develop two business guide proposals
  • Co-designing the process for creation of a WEAll leadership toolbox
  • Negotiating the legal hosting of WEAll for 2019

November highlight:

  • Working with the content group for NESI Global Forum, and learning about new collaboration tools

December priorities:

  • Leading some productive team days in Glasgow
  • Having the NESI Forum format finalised and sub-groups decided for working on details of the Forum in the New Year.
  • Taking the business cluster proposals to funders
Towards a Global Impact Economy: Letter to G20 Leaders #GlobalImpactEconomy

WEAll is supporting some of its members and friends (Sistema B, The B Team, B LAb and GSG Impact Investment) in calling on the G20 country leaders to prioritise a wellbeing economy. Get involved with the petition on Change.org

From Change.org:

“The traditional economic system has many advantages, but it has also contributed to increasing inequity, to the extent that the top 1% of the population now own two-thirds of global wealth. In addition the environment continues to be seriously threatened, and more corruption is being uncovered that was always there. In this context, building a sustainable and inclusive future demands urgent redesign and change.

For this reason, a group of global organisations have joined together to write an Open Letter to governments of G20 member countries. The purpose of the document is to demonstrate, with concrete actions, that millions of people can be part of global scale solutions. Given that our world leaders will meet this month to discuss the global economy, we call on them to recognise and address the fact that today’s economy is not aligned with many of the real needs of society and the planet.

We need the economy to always have a positive impact on people and the planet

Concrete proposals:

1. Create a working group, as part of the G20 structure, to propose net positive impact economic policies.

2. Create mechanisms and a legal framework in all G20 countries for establishing ‘for-benefit” corporations.

3. Convene Leaders of global businesses, funds and NGOs to work with G20 governments over the long term on economic transition.

We invite you to join with your signature and echo this call.”

Sign the petition to add your voice now

By Desta Mebratu (Prof.), member of WE-Africa

African nations have been importing economic theories to fit realities on the ground, with little to show for it. But it is never too late to adopt a “Well-being Economy,” one that takes stock of opportunities and limits of local resources and external opportunities, writes Desta Mebratu (Prof.) (desta@africaleapfrog.org), CEO of African Transformative Leapfrogging Advisory Service. 

This article first appeared in Addis Fortune

Neo-classical economics, with its different forms and scope and with market and trade liberalisation at its core, has been the dominant economic theory since the first industrial revolution. Despite all its inherent theoretical and practical limitations, it has been successful in driving economic growth in some parts of the world.

It has also been key in the globalisation of national economies in the second half of the 20th century. In recent decades, however, its dominance was significantly challenged by prominent economists, including some Nobel Laureates in Economics.

The challenge took a new dimension and scope with the growing inequality observed within and between countries as its trickle-down effect failed miserably. This has been mainly caused by the exclusive focus on economic growth as measured by the growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP).

The emergence of global environmental challenges, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, has also been another source of challenges faced by the dominant economic thinking. This was again mainly caused by its principle of externalising all costs related to environmental pollution and degradation.

Since independence from European colonial powers, international development organisations led by the World Bank and the International Monitory Fund have been at the forefront of promoting and stipulating neo-classical economic principles of market and trade liberalisation on African countries.

The infamous structural adjustment programs that were imposed by these institutions in the 1970s and 80s led to extensive socio-economic havoc in many African countries. Despite the enormous effort made by these organisations and the stated commitment of successive African governments to laissez-faire market economies, not a single African country that took a Bretton Woods’ prescription succeeded in becoming a developed or a transitional economy.

As it was eloquently stated by the prominent Pan-Africanist and Kenyan Lawyer P.L.O. Lumumba, what we have in the region is more of a “voodoo economics,” which is an African version of neo-classical economics. Hence, we saw for decades economies that are either in shambles or seemed to be developing but are under state capture, benefiting a small group of people.

Experiences of the last half a century have clearly shown that neither neo-classical economics nor its African version, “voodoo economics,” helped Africans to achieve an economic development that meets the needs of their people.

Today, Africa is faced with multitudes of economic, social and environmental issues which have made the development challenges more complex. These challenges are expected to be further aggravated in the coming decades as a result of the extremely high rates of population growth coupled with an increasing percentage of youth.

In this context, African countries and their development partners need to recognise that existing and emerging socio-economic challenges could not be resolved with the same approaches and prescriptions of the twentieth century. That is why it is important for African countries to channel their effort toward the development of a “well-being economy” that responds to the reality of the region.

A well-being economy is an economy that strives for the continuous fulfilment of basic human needs and aspirations of its people within the limits and possibilities of its resources and available external opportunities. This would require deploying a national development strategy that is home-grown and organic but at the same time adaptive to global dynamics.

It also requires governance mechanisms that are equipped with transformative leadership that is based on adaptive learning and inclusivity. A well-being economy addresses both the distributive and participatory justice of its people through their active involvement in the planning and management of the development process.

Progress toward a well-being economy is measured by actual and perceived improvement in the well-being of its people rather than solely relying on the growth rate of GDP and foreign direct investment. Achieving this would require the development of distributed local economy networks in combination with national backbone industries that are low-carbon and resource efficient.

Its primary operational objectives would be job creation and value addition at the local level, which are extremely crucial for African countries. Such an economy also recognises the critical importance of maintaining the well-being of the natural ecosystem as the foundation for the fulfillment of its developmental objectives on a sustainable basis.

In essence, the Well-being economy provides a fundamentally new vehicle for the effective implementation of Agenda 2030 on sustainable development goals with a qualitatively higher outcome. Hence, it is time for African leaders and policymakers to provide the creative space for the development of a Well-being economy in Africa rather than continuing with the same versions of ‘voodoo economics’ and expect a different outcome.

Political dysfunction, violence, floods, droughts, hurricanes and opioid addictions.

The news headlines are depressing and the problems seem overwhelming. From Russia to America; India to Turkey; Italy and most recently from Poland to Brazil — growing numbers of people have voted for authoritarians — presumably as a way to return to a simpler and better past.

Meanwhile, the challenges and threats keep mounting. Inequality has reached morally indefensible heights, power concentrates in ever fewer corporate hands, poverty continues to crush souls and according to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the environment is beginning to crash. If the globe was a person, we would rush them to the emergency room.

And yet, just below the surface, hidden by partisan rancor, hope and solutions can be found everywhere. Surveys continue to show that most Americans agree on far more than they disagree. They want the young to be able to thrive. They believe all people deserve real opportunities. They know our environment needs serious protection. They believe old people should live out their lives in dignity and that illnesses deserve treatment without risk of poverty or despair. Above all, they keep caring, inventing, problem-solving, together.

Collectively, we have accomplished a great deal. Mountains of wealth; medical breakthroughs; technologies that give us access, organize us, connect us. And yet debilitating poverty persists, basic medical problems remain untreated and people disappear in dark tunnels of loneliness and depression.

With so much knowledge, so many tools and such good intentions and values, how is it that we can go so wrong?

The core problem is this: the overarching, single most important goal of modern societies is growth, not human and ecological wellbeing. Our primary mandate is to increase “efficiency” and “productivity.” Make it cheaper, faster and above all, make more of it.

Busy speeding up a runaway train, we see our dominant gauges of success continue to point in a positive direction. Unemployment is down, GDP is up. The stock market keeps hitting record territory. In service of growth, the economy and with it politics, no longer adequately reflect our realities.

The deeper reality is this: today, in an overpopulated world choking on stuff, a focus on more has become both absurd and dangerous. Three recent international studies all came to the same conclusion: We have reached very real limits to growth.

Our train needs a new track.

One focused on a greater vision of human and ecological wellbeing, one leading to real human prosperity anchored in environmental health and sustainability. An emphasis on what is actually good for us — more connection, more opportunities, less inequality. Above all: a healthy environment and stable communities.

There is little difference between Democrats and Republicans, but neither can answer a simple question: how to grow indefinitely on a finite planet? Neither can answer why growth would even be desirable, when its drawbacks range from resource depletion to pollution, from accidents to addictions, from more miles commuted to more hours worked?

No we must grow, as economists and politicians keep telling us. Trust the market. Trust science and technology. Trust something, just so long as you don’t question growth.

As more aspects of our lives turn into contributions to the growth mantra, our focus on quality of life — on community, on meaningful work, on family and love, on a natural world that can nurture our children — inevitably shrivels.

The good thing: There is a growing number of people whom are building companies that don’t depend on fossil fuels, cities that serve people rather than cars, communities that don’t generate poverty or homelessness, health-care systems that don’t leave anyone behind, regions that provide security and jobs for everyone. On the frontiers, we’re learning how to create prosperity without waste — waste of resources, people, potentials.

Solutions come from every part of society: socially and environmentally responsible investing (ESG), builders and architects creating improved LEED standards in construction, doughnut economics that explains how to create human prosperity within the boundaries of natural systems, to cyclical production systems that eliminate waste. Across the spectrum, people are working on ways to build regenerative economies focused on human and ecological wellbeing rather than blind growth.

The future is bright — if only we can get politics to catch up with what is already happening all around us.

Dirk Philipsen is an economic historian teaching at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and author of “The Little Big Number – How GDP Came to Rule the World, and What to Do About It” (Princeton UP, 2015).

This article was originally published on TheHill.com 

WEAll members submitted their recommendations for ‘must-read’ books  to understand the case for, and path towards, a wellbeing economy.

Here’s the result – 15 important books that provide answers, inspiration and hope.

Of course, this list is not exhaustive – comment below with your own recommendations.

 

Alphabetically by author:

  1. An Economy of Wellbeing: Mark Anielski
  2. Change Everything: Christian Felber
  3. Wellbeing Economy: Lorenzo Fioramonti
  4. The Divide: Jason Hickel
  5. New Economy Business: Margo Hoek
  6. The Age of Thrivability: Michelle Holliday
  7. Prosperity Without Growth: Tim Jackson
  8. The High Price of Materialism: Tim Kasser
  9. A Finer Future: Hunter Lovins, Stewart Wallis, John Fullerton and Anders Wijkman
  10. Economics Unmasked: Manfred Max-Neef
  11. The Spirit Level: Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson
  12. Doughnut Economics: Kate Raworth
  13. Small is Beautiful: E.F. Schumacher
  14. Local Dollars Local Sense – Michael Shuman
  15. How to Thrive in the Next Economy: John Thackara

Guest blog by Henry Leveson-Gower and Teresa Linzer (Promoting Economic Pluralism)

Post the Crash, we seemed set for economic revolution. 10 years later and here we are – still waiting, entangled in an economic system that is just as addicted to GDP growth as it was 10 years ago. So, how best to bring about the long overdue revolution? What ways are there to contribute to shifting and opening up the narrow systemic focus, from mere growth for its own sake to sustainability, wellbeing and genuine prosperity?

At Promoting Economic Pluralism, we think that part of the answer is changing economics education. The language of economics is the language of power and many students are required to learn it both in economics departments and as part of interdisciplinary masters. At the moment it is generally taught as if there was only one way of thinking about economics and that certainly involves endless growth.

However that is not true of all courses: some lecturers are more pluralist in how they teach economics. This means recognising that there is more than one way of thinking about the economy and encouraging critical reflection. These lecturers draw from a wide range of economic traditions such as ecological, institutional, complexity and post-Keynesian economics. Although this is often referred to as new economics, in fact its roots go back to the 1930s and further. There is a wealth of scholarship and literature, which is largely ignored by the mainstream.

This provides the space for the main economic theology of growth, self-interest, shareholder dominance etc to be challenged. It gives students tools to then question the policy and perspectives based on economic orthodoxy that they are likely to encounter later in work. It also provides ideas on which to base new innovative approaches to tackling the social and environmental challenges we face. Students are likely to come ideas of social enterprise, wellbeing, ecological limits and more, that mainstream economics would ignore.

We are therefore planning to raise the profile and legitimacy of these types of courses so students are encouraged to join them and other universities are encouraged to put them on.

We have chosen to start with masters courses as university departments have much more flexibility over what they can teach at this level. Students from these courses will also be entering the ‘real world’ very soon to use their learning.

There are many departments and centres teaching these courses as can be seen here. It is happening in the same high ranking universities where the economic departments themselves defend the status quo. However the courses have a whole range of labels. For the uninitiated, it is not obvious they take a pluralist approach to economics.

Hence we want to co-create an accreditation system so they can have a common identity and ‘brand’.  The point of this is not to determine what economics is ‘right’ or which courses are ‘best’. It is to build a shared sense between those inside and outside of academia of what economic teaching looks like that fosters creativity and critical thinking to address real world issues and genuinely transform the economic system. Then potential students can easily and confidently find these courses.  We will also of course work closely with Rethinking Economics and the student movement to magnify this effect.

To turn this idea into reality, we want to invite you to participate in actually co-creating the scheme.

This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to get involved in the detail or devote huge amounts of time to it. We will ensure people can give their views on the principles and broad approach as easily as possible. Please sign-up here to be involved and if you first want to find out more, sign up for a webinar here. And please make sure to also register your public support for this initiative here! It is crucial that we demonstrate a diverse and wide-ranging support for this initiative. Your voice matters.

Join a webinar.

For more info about why we think this is the road to much needed change in economics check out our website and have a look at our latest blog here.

Blog by Stewart Wallis, WEAll Chair

Amongst the many different groups and individuals worldwide arguing for a new economic system, there is considerable agreement not only about what urgently needs to change but also on the goals and main ingredients of the much -needed new system. Such a system would focus on maximising wellbeing, meeting the fundamental needs of all humans, regenerating degraded ecological and social systems, and living within local and planetary ecological limits. A new book of which I am a co-author “A Finer Future” covers in detail the elements of such a new system.

Where there is much less certainty and agreement is: how to bring this desired new system into being? How to make it happen?

This was the critical question that exercised myself and colleagues during my 12 years at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). For many years our theory of change was to produce ground-breaking reports based on thorough research and to disseminate the findings through compelling communications backed by both insider lobbying and outsider campaigning in alliance with others. We then often formed partnerships with communities and civil society to demonstrate that these new approaches worked in practice. All this is necessary but – as we came to realise – not sufficient.

Studying successful major system changes over the past 300 years, we and others found that the following elements are also vital:

  1. Organisations and individuals working together across sectors and at different scales to create a vanguard power base.
  2. Compelling positive new stories or narratives
  3. Sufficient coherence of both theory and practice

There are many organisations already doing fantastic work on each of these elements. WEAll (the Wellbeing Economy Alliance) has been created this year not to duplicate this work or compete with it but to amplify it so that together we can catalyse the necessary system change.

Already, over 30 international networks, coalitions and organisations have joined WEAll as members. A small amplification team has been set up; coalition building work has commenced at three levels- governments, cities and businesses; an international group of academics are collaborating on areas where wellbeing economic theory is insufficiently coherent; narrative groups are being established; and a number of country level cross-sectoral groups are being formed including WEAll Scotland.

WEAll members include Local Futures and Happy City: the co-hosts of the Bristol 2018 ‘Economics of Happiness’ conference which runs from 19-21 October. This conference will focus on system change to put human flourishing and happiness at the heart of a new economic system. I am delighted to be participating in this conference and believe that it will be an important step towards the goal so many of us are working for.

Some people argue that system change will only happen when there is a further massive economic crisis. We believe that this is a dangerous argument; history shows clearly that major crises not only cause serious harm to the least powerful people but can also provide fertile ground for the rise of deeply unpleasant variants of populism and nationalism. Furthermore, the time for action is now – not tomorrow! Together we already possess the power to change the system. Join WEAll in making this happen.

Stewart is a keynote speaker at the Economics of Happiness conference in Bristol, UK (19-21 October) – find out more and get tickets here.

Blog post by Lisa Hough-Stewart

What happens when you give away free money to strangers?

WEAll teamed up with our members the Post Growth Institute and Finance Watch to do just that.

On September 15, 2018, ten years to the day from the collapse of Lehman Brothers (which triggered the financial crash), a small group of us stood opposite the old Lehman Brothers building on 7th Avenue in New York, and dished out cash.

This stunt was part of the Change Finance coalition’s #10yearson campaign. The purpose was simple: to provoke people to think about our relationship with money and what the economy is for, encouraging sharing and collaboration instead of greed. To emphasize the point, we invited everyone to take two dollars – one to keep, and one to pass on to someone else.

In preparing for this stunt, I gave plenty of thought to our messages, the logistics, the risks – and not much thought to how people would react. In fact, I assumed that the $500 we had to give away would disappear within half an hour, with people grabbing bills as quickly as they could.

The reality was more complex, and it said a lot about our relationship with money: exactly what we were there to explore! At first, almost everyone was wary and confused, and many would not engage with us at all, refusing to believe anyone would just hand out money with no catch.

We didn’t get a lot of outright negativity, but a lot of people were quick to put up their hands and say, “I’ve got enough”. A nice sentiment, as our economy certainly needs a better concept of “enough”: it was pretty clear, though, that this response was defensive. People did not want to be seen to be in need.

Our pitch went along the lines of “It’s free money day! You get a dollar, and you pass one on to someone else”. The last part of the sentence was transformational. We could see the penny drop, as people who had been quickening their pace to avoid us suddenly smiled, slowed down and started to engage. The sharing element connected with people instantly, and that’s when they wanted to know more about what we were doing.

My favourite part was the people who really got into the spirit of it, eager to give away their dollar straight away – a few even joined our team for a while! Kids were particularly thrilled not just to get a buck but to hand out money to others. I lost count of the number of people who said we made their day.

It didn’t take half an hour to get rid of $500 on a Saturday afternoon in New York City. It took almost two hours. In those two hours, we had conversations with strangers lasting from a few seconds to fifteen or twenty minutes. We shared ideas, laughter and hugs with these strangers as we connected over the idea that we all can do better, and build an economy that works for people and planet.

  • Free Money Day is a global event in which people hand out money to strangers in order to raise awareness and start conversations about the benefits of economies based on sharing. http://www.freemoneyday.org/
  • Finance Watch is an independent, non-profit, publicinterest association dedicated to making finance work for society. It was created in June 2011 to be a citizen’s counterweight to the lobbying of the financial industry and conducts technical and policy advocacy in favour of financial regulations that will make finance serve society. It now expands its mission to include work on campaigns that demand systemic change, and coordinates the Change Finance coalition. 
  • The #10YearsOn campaign has involved over 60 organisations to reimagine the financial system. Its demands are focused on a financial system that serves people and planet, that is democratically governed, and that is stable.

Images by Create The Remarkable

Blog by Lisa Hough-Stewart

I was thrilled to be part of the international Rethinking Economics summer gathering earlier in August.

Rethinking Economics (RE) is an international network of students, academics and professionals aiming to build better economics education and thus contribute to transformation of the economic system.  RE is a WEAll member and we headed to their gathering to explain what WEAll is doing and our vision, and make connections between the work of RE and the wider movement.

This was a really special event – by the time I arrived on day 4, the participants were clearly a really tight group. Despite having already had four intense days of strategic planning and plotting to change the world, energy and enthusiasm levels were through the roof. I reckon there are a few world changers in this group!

I supported Rowan from RE to run the opening session on day five, encouraging students to work in their national or regional groups to use power mapping tools. They each mapped out the different external stakeholders who have influence over their university curriculum and came up with strategies for working with at least one of these to create change in the new semester. The depth of strategic thinking was really impressive for a short session!

Then it was time to deliver a presentation on what WEAll is all about and I was delighted to have a packed room full of people curious to learn about us. I started by asking everyone to say what they think a wellbeing economy is or includes, and the answers were brilliant – all completely in line with WEAll’s definitions! (see the photo) It was great to get an overwhelmingly positive response to my short workshop, and a wee queue of students keen to discuss collaboration at the end.

Myself and the other presenters were swept up in the busy afternoon of workshops, and I had so much fun as part of Team Meme Machine creating memes that RE can use during the #10yearson campaign (watch this space). We were also grateful to be welcomed into the brilliant (late night!) closing party, complete with quiz and talent show. These Rethinkers know how to have fun.

It seemed there was a meaningful connection with WEAll to be made with every Rethinking Economics group, and the other presenters I spoke with to – being part of this incredible Gathering made me more sure than ever that WEAll as an alliance to connect the wellbeing economy movement is really needed. It also gave me a real boost that with the energy and talent that already exists within the movement, we really can succeed in our ambitious goals.

Katherine Trebeck, WEAll Policy and Knowledge lead, sat down with Brazilian media outlet “This is not the truth” to explore the need for a wellbeing economy and how we can get there.

Each month, the WEAll Amplification team (Amp team) shares what they’ve been working on, and their priorities for the coming month.

Find out more about our team members here 

Ana Gomez 

What’s kept you busy in August?
  • Helping Lisa build WEAll’s new website, focusing on Member’s details, donation software, and anything she has needed. Supporting each other is a common goal for all of us!
  • Enjoying an amazing and fruitful face-to-face meeting with Lisa, Diego, Rebeca and myself to organise the coming months in terms of September event, and thinking ahead to NESI 2019
  • Working on the onboarding process to welcome new members/friends/groups into the movement. Getting to know interested organisations and individuals! 
August highlight:
  • Lisa’s visit to Malaga to work together with Diego and myself. It’s rare to have the chance to see each other in person but when it happens we get the most out of it, at working and human level. 
September priorities:
  • WEAll Scotland event. Collaborating with Ellie Logan and the whole team in WEAll Scotland to celebrate at the beginning of October the incredible debut of the Scotland Local Hub.
  • Members will be my priority. I want to get to know each other much better, listening to their ideas, proposals, questions, etc. My goal is that they feel they are an active part of the movement. I’m willing to create a closer bond and understanding among all of us in our future collaborations.
  • Creating more Local Hubs around the world to get many more people involved with WEAll at a local level with an international perspective. Super excited about this! 

Lisa Hough-Stewart 

What’s kept you busy in August?
  • Getting plans in place for our trip to New York in September, where  we’re running an event and launching some new aspects of WEAll’s work. It was great to spend some time in Malaga with Diego and Ana, planning together
  • Overseeing the completion of the website build
  • Creating the WEAll Citizens programme, which I’m very excited about

August highlight:

  • Delivering a workshop about WEAll at the Rethinking Economics Summer Gathering. The student “Rethinkers” were super inspiring, and had great ideas for linking their curriculum reform work to the wider wellbeing economy movement.

September priorities:

  • Campaigning as part of the #10yearson campaign with Change Finance in New York – watch this space!
  • Running an event in New York to soft launch WEAll and connect with the US movement
  • Launching WEAll Citizens

Diego Isabel

What’s kept you busy in August?
  • Starting to prepare the WEAll action plan and budget for 2019-2021
  • Fundraising activities for WEAll
  • Following up with contacts after our visit to the US in July 
August highlight:
  • Charging the batteries under the Spanish sun with positive energy for the coming months!
September priorities:
  • Preparing and participating in the WEAll event in New York on the 20th of September
  • Connecting with key partners for WEAll as well as for the NESI Forum 2019 where all the WEAll members will come together
  • Launching the WEAll strategy group with members and experts

Katherine Trebeck

What’s kept you busy in August?
  • Loads of meetings!! But wonderful ones, including many related to WEAll Scotland (possible partnerships & preparing for our event in October ‘The Wealth of Nations 3.0: Building the Conditions of Wellbeing’) and plenty with other WEAll partner organisations.
  • Speaking at the Edinburgh Fringe in a debate (about a 300+ report from the governing Scottish National Party about Scotland’s future being one of growth. I said I think we can do better…)
  • Submitting a chapter with the rather boring title of ‘Building a Wellbeing Economy’ to a book being edited by Open Democracy  
August highlight:
  • Besides snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef?! Seeing the final version of the cover for a book I co-authored (coming out in January). Hope you like it as much as Jeremy and I do!  
September priorities:
  • Moving ahead on actions from the research cluster (eg WEAll Wisdom Webinars), mapping priority synthesis papers, and creating the WEAll Fellows Network
  • Finalising plans for the WEAll Scotland gathering in October (including an opening talk from WEAll friend Jacquie McGlade)
  • Spending time in a cabin beside a Scottish Loch making a dent in my long reading list in order to move forward with some WEAll outputs

Stewart Wallis

Stewart has been enjoying a well-earned rest in August and September – after coming out of retirement to help set up and run WEAll, he has temporarily re-retired!

But that didn’t stop him spending a couple of days in Amsterdam building relationships on behalf of WEAll. Stewart will be working again in late September.

 

Michael Weatherhead

What’s kept you busy in August?
  •  Developing proposals to pilot the WEAllCities guide (currently being finalised).
  • Laying the ground work for the start of an exciting new employment and wellbeing economics coaching programme to up skill and assist unemployed individuals across Southern Spain
  • Developing our team’s cultural code of conduct
August highlight:
  •  Supporting one of our regional members with their strategy and how WEAll can support them
September priorities:
  • Getting the WEAll Business Cluster off the ground with a firm action plan and proposals for future initiatives
  • Establishing the formal relationship between WEAll and its first established local hub WEAll Scotland
  • Furthering the transformation journey of a leading multi-national