Dr Girol Karacaoglu BA MBA Bogazici, PhD Hawaii 
Professor of Policy Practice, Victoria University of Wellington

The former Chief Economist of The Treasury in New Zealand has written a book examining the processes by which wellbeing-focused public policy objectives can be established, prioritised, funded, implemented, managed, and evaluated.

Professor Girol Karacaoglu is Head of the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington and was previously New Zealand’s Chief Economist of The Treasury. Before then, he was the Chief Executive of PSIS (then Co-operative Bank of New Zealand) for nine years. His new book asks:

HOW WOULD WE DESIGN, IMPLEMENT AND EVALUATE PUBLIC POLICY IF IT WERE BASED ON OUR LOVE FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS?

For the philosopher Water Kaufman, ‘I love you’ means:

I want you to live the life that you want to live.
I will be as happy as you if you do; and as unhappy as you if you don’t.

Professor Karacaoglu said that ‘wellbeing is about the ability of individuals and communities to live the lives they value – now and in the future. This is their human right. It would be extremely unjust to prevent the enjoyment of lives centred on chosen values. Preventing such injustice across generations should be the focus of a public policy that has intergenerational wellbeing as its objective.’

‘Half of the net revenue from sales of this book will be donated to The Nest Collective, which gives baby and children’s essentials to families in need’, he said.

Tuwhiri publisher Ramsey Margolis said that ‘while humanity may well come to grips with the current pandemic in the foreseeable future, ballooning inequalities and injustice threaten to shred the fabric of our societies, and the climate emergency menaces all life forms on the planet.

‘In the face of these enduring humanity-induced catastrophes, we owe a special duty of care to future generations to overcome them, and to leave our successors with a safer, fairer world in which they may thrive. We need to express our care for coming generations in many ways, from changing own personal lifestyles, to choosing political representatives who advance cogent, long-sighted policies in aid of a better world.”

Find out more and order the book via the publisher Tuwhiri

By Mkyeku Onesmo Kisanga, WEAll Youth

“Wellbeing Economy” directly translates to ‘uchumi wa ustawi’ in Swahili which is an official language in Tanzania. Tanzania is found in the Eastern part of Africa with approximately 61.5 million people with over 120 unofficial languages (tribes inclusive). Being one of the largest countries in Africa, seeking to achieve a wellbeing economy can be difficult.

Most of the citizens fall on the poverty line of the GDP of Tanzania which means approximately two thirds of the whole population this has only worsened with the current Covid19 situation. The current life expectancy in Tanzania is around 60 years which means there is a deterioration.

Why is it important?

Wellbeing economy approaches could solve the recurring precarious problems in our communities. With this, we could improve our life expectancy rate, improve our healthcare especially in remote areas, improve digital literacy and remove the huge gender gap (statistics show men have a higher literacy rate than women in Tanzania), and provide reliable employability for the youth and people of Tanzania.

Enabling people to benefit from their hard work and engagement and even during retirement, they are well taken care of. No huge gaps in their salaries reduce and bridging of the difference in salary from the rich to middle class to destitute ones. This provides collective cooperation and cohabitation.

Repairing and make reparations for the current economic situation which is crumbling down. This will shift us to a circular economy.

We envision a future where everyone is well taken care of and don’t have to endure the challenges we are facing lately.

A wellbeing economy for Tanzania would provide a coherent and yet efficient transformation of the economy in Tanzania keeping in mind that the current situation didn’t favour some classes and professions and affected everyone entirely. 

Central to the transformation required would be improving the education systems that are deteriorating and exclusive of gender, tribe and people of a certain class. Our education systems should cater for the needs of everyone collectively without being biased.

Focusing on wellbeing would help prevent all the barbarous acts of crime happening because youth are idle and lack the motivation they need and resort to committing crime to sustain their needs. Regulating the cognitive dissonance in the area prevents people from embracing opportunities and new ways of life.

Residents inclusive of aboriginals, citizens, migrants and the whole diaspora need to apply the holistic approach and multifaceted approach to a wellbeing economy. Including everyone equally will provide longevity of results that are pleasant and positive leading to freedom and less conflict.

How to achieve a wellbeing economy:

Achieving a wellbeing economy simply means treating human beings as the first top priority rather than financial and monetary needs, resulting in a sustainable realm. How does one provide inclusivity while integrating all the tribes and cities in Tanzania and promoting a sustainable economy?

  • Use of Swahili, which is not only prominent in Tanzania but the whole of East Africa . After all, Swahili is already termed as one of the leading and most frequently spoken languages in the world. This will definitely boost the country’s economy by promoting union with neighbouring and other states in Africa and globally.
  • Addressing gender equality and gender gap- making sure women and men contribute equally to the economy and their salaries and reimbursement are the same throughout. Forming policies that accommodate both genders in all professions will reduce harmful social norms and stereotypes and prejudices.
  • Health care- same health care for everyone regardless of their status.
  • Education in learning institutes- use of Swahili language and introduction of this module in every level.
  • Employability, providing enough and accessible jobs that don’t have too many requirements, quota age, experience but provides inclusion of all regardless of their qualifications and experiences. In Tanzania, farmers are the one’s who highly contribute to the country’s economy and yet are disregarded and berated because of the stereotypes in the country. Most value partisans and professions that require one working in a huge company, presented in a formal appearance. While in reality, all are contributors to the economy, thus we need to ensure equal involvement and accessibility regardless of their title and identification.
  • Having youth yarn their creativity side and use their skills to come up with innovative and new ideas in rectifying the economy and also providing them funds and support in every trajectory. This will eventually cater for all tribes and cities establishing a wellbeing economy that doesn’t favour a certain gender, class, tribe or ethnicity.

About the author

Mkyeku Onesmo Kisanga is a 26 year old Tanzanian based in Cyprus pursuing her psychology degree. She is currently looking at how to employ the wellbeing economy in her organisation, Sakonsa in Tanzania which recently started in January 2020. Sakonsa is working with SDG’s 4, 10 & 17 on a voluntary basis through youth willing to make an impact and transforming a better tomorrow. Mkyeku joined in because of her inquisitive and pragmatic nature, she wanted to explore all possibilities and what is out there that is significant and impactful. Connect with her on Linkedin here.

Learn more about WEAll Youth here.

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

Careless Finance—Operational and economic fragility in adult social care

Adult social care across the OECD is in crisis. Covid-19 has exposed deep fragilities which have combined to place unprecedented strain on social care organisations. Principal amongst these is the process of marketisation and financialisation of the social care sector. In this paper, we take a critical perspective on this process

DAWN Informs on PPPs

Together they compose a panorama of the state of PPPs today, filled with analysis and critique, looking at effects and consequences to women’s lives and communities’ wellbeing, all in the name of so-called development.

Why systems change requires shadow work

 I argue that for us to move forward and truly create root and branch change, we each of us have to do the dirty work, and acknowledge all the things denied about ourselves and our cultures. So, allow me to be the first to hold up my hand and own my culture’s stuff

From growth to well-being: a new paradigm for EU economic governance

This policy brief criticizes the European Economic Governance system for being too narrowly focused on economic growth and competitiveness.

Roots of Transformation: lessons and leverage points for sustainable living

 We acknowledge the need for drastic changes if we are to meet the 1.5 degree challenge. But how do we actually do it? 

WEAll Policy Design Guidebook

“This guide has been co-created by the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) to support visionary policy makers, to build more just and sustainable economies for people and planet.”

Being Bold: Building Budgets for Children’s Wellbeing – Dr. Katherine Trebeck

“The report argues that the Scottish Government’s stated aims of improving wellbeing across society and addressing the fact that one quarter of children live in relative poverty cannot be met unless we create conditions for our youngest children to be healthy and supported from the outset.”

Chasing Carbon Markets: The Deception of Carbon Markets and “Net Zero”

“Net zero” is a smokescreen, a conveniently invented concept that is both dangerous and problematic because of how effectively it hides inaction. We have to unpack “net zero” strategies and pledges to see which are real and which are fake. Fake zero strategies rely on offsets, rather than real emission reductions. Real zero strategies require emissions to really go to zero, or as close to zero as possible

Mindset Shifts: What are they? Why do they matter? How do they happen?

This report is intended as a resource for all those working on and funding mindset shifts.The research yields clear lessons and recommendations for how advocates, activists, funders,and other practitioners can maximize the impact of their efforts to change how we thinkabout social issues in order to change the contexts and structures that shape our experiencesand realities

SBTI … Net Zero Targets … TCFD … ESG Investment … resistance bubbles up that ‘trust us, we’re big’​ is not sufficient any longer

It is clear that ‘business as usual’ is not sufficient any longer (and hasn’t been for long), and remaining incremental ‘steps in the right direction’ are wilful predatory delay and not part of the solution. Now, do we have the tools at hand to react sufficiently and responsibly?

Devastatingly pervasive: 1 in 3 women globally experience violence

“Violence disproportionately affects women living in low- and lower-middle-income countries.  An estimated 37% of women living in the poorest countries have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence in their life, with some of these countries having a prevalence as high as 1 in 2.”

Health Verses Wealth?

“This briefing, by drawing attention to the longer term interactions between public health and the economy, dispels the myth that measures to protect public health are necessarily detrimental to economic well-being. Whilst difficult choices do have to be made, this ‘health versus wealth’ mentality is shown to be a false dichotomy.”

Job Openings & Opportunities

What to Watch

Listen Up

Upcoming Events

WEAll Originals  

Blogs:

Publications:

From the Archives

WEAll is recruiting for a COP26 Communications Officer. This 8-month contract offers the opportunity to lead on WEAll’s presence and impact around the COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, and offers a unique opportunity to engage new audiences with the case for economic system change and a wellbeing economy. Primarily this will be done through a multi-arts festival that seeks to be engaging and informative and will be available to digital audiences as well as people in Glasgow.      

The position is a fantastic opportunity for someone with skills and experience in strategic communications: and who wants to be part of building a better system for people and planet. The successful candidate will be part of an exciting movement, working with people from all over the world who are collaborating to transform the economy.

Start date: May 2021

Contract type: 8-month fixed-term employment contract

Salary: The hours of work will be 21 hours per week and the salary is based on a full-time equivalent salary of up to £30,000 per annum (dependant on experience)

Hours of work: The nature of this role is that flexibility in hours is both required by the role (for example, there may be some evening and weekend work) but also offered by WEAll.

Location: Because of where COP will take place this year, our preference is to recruit for a person to be based in Glasgow [Scotland] where we can provide access to a co-working space (COVID rules permitting).

What we are looking for:

We are looking for an organised, flexible and highly motivated individual with demonstrable communications skills, and a passion for economic system change. The focus for the role is to take the lead on WEAll’s communications efforts in connection with COP26, specifically our planned COP26 music festival but also opportunities to bring together heads of government of the Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo) Partnership at the conference itself, and to advance wellbeing economy ideas by seeking out and creating opportunities for amplification related to COP26. The post holder must be adaptable, creative and – due to the nature of our small start-up organisation – willing and able to turn their hand to a range of communications tasks as required.

Download the full job description, which includes details of how to apply, below.

By Diana Ivanova1,2 and Loup Suja-Thauvin2

The problem

It is not hard to find reasons to dislike some forms of advertising. Among other things, advertising impacts communities by:

Importantly, advertising normalises overconsumption on a planet that has already been depleted and impoverished by uncapped resource extraction, waste and climate change in the aim of profits. Advertising creates desires that are disconnected from human need and true wellbeing. Ads rarely reflect functional uses of a product and usually focus on changing perceptions around what it means to be successful, beautiful, accepted and happy. Yet, we now more than ever need to reflect on what energy and consumption contributes directly to our human needs and a good life, and what does not. 

While it is widely accepted that advertising has a huge effect on how we use resources, it is very challenging to quantify those impacts. Here we estimate the electricity use of outdoors ads infrastructure in the UK. Understanding those impacts is an important step to lowering the energy demand of our communities and living well within planetary boundaries.

The energy use behind outdoors advertising in the UK

Advertising in its various forms uses energy to spread a message. Whether it is a TV or a radio ad, a billboard or an online pop-up, ads need energy to run on various devices. We find that a single digital billboard may use as much energy as 37 UK homes. In addition, there is the energy used in the manufacturing and distribution of ad infrastructure and printed materials. There is also the energy needed to supply and use the products and services that ads encourage. In an energy world still largely reliant on fossil fuels, advertising comes at a high carbon cost.

In most UK cities, it is common to see outdoor advertising on digital billboards, bus stops and shopping centres with images of anything from fast food to automobiles. UK cities are becoming especially saturated, with more than 100,000 outdoors advertising infrastructures across the country. That includes digital and paper billboards, bus stops, phone boxes and others. Based on this estimate, we calculate that in 2020 outdoors advertising used between 84 and 451 GWh of electricity in the UK. For an average household size of 2.3 persons per household, the amount of electricity that outdoors advertising uses directly is equivalent to the home electricity use of 68,000-362,000 UK residents. For an average emission factor of 0.309 kgCO2-equivalents per kWh, this amounts to between 26 and 139 thousand tonnes of CO2-equivalents.

The following table gives an estimation for other major British cities.More about the data, assumptions and method can be found here.

CityNumber of infrastructuresConsumption (GWh/year)Home electricity use (equivalent in number of UK residents)
London14,55824 – 8419,000 – 67,000
Greater Manchester6,0424.1 – 203,300 – 16,000
Birmingham5,0623.2 – 142,600 – 12,000
Glasgow2,2621.6 – 8.01,300 – 6,500
Leeds2,0571.5 – 6.71,200 – 5,400
Bristol1,9401.2 – 5.7990 – 4,600
Cardiff1,3930.7 – 3.7576 – 2,900
Total UK107,63784- 45168,000-362,000

This only includes the electricity for the lighting and changing of images, not that embodied in the materials and infrastructure or the consumption that advertising creates. Furthermore, calculations are based on numbers from a database, which excludes a lot of the outdoors advertising in the cities.  For example, in Leeds, we find that about half of the infrastructure is missing. Therefore, we can expect that all energy figures are grossly understated, and that the true energy costs are several times higher. Even so, the calculated amount of energy that goes into running all of the ads in the UK is enormous and highlights advertising as an important area for reducing energy demand and carbon emissions. 

Where do we go from here?

The good news is that there is a lot that communities can do to reclaim public spaces with the aim of happier lives and stronger communities. We highlight several core principles that will be helpful in managing environmental impacts from advertising and increasing public engagement with our shared spaces. The principles are entirely feasible provided that there is political and social will.

  1. We need to democratise the urban landscape

The general public cannot turn off or easily escape outdoors advertising even if it so wishes. Yet, cities increasingly rely on advertising funds for the provision of basic urban infrastructure such as bus shelters, street signs and public internet access. These arrangements, while may seem beneficial, come with a myriad of hidden social and environmental costs that society pays for. Advertising displays are increasingly monopolising our public spaces at the expense of reduced non-commercial access and diversity for the locals. Some areas, particularly less wealthy ones, may suffer more from this public space monopoly, further entrenching social inequalities in the cities. 

Strategies for democratising public space could include restricting the space for corporate advertising and allowing for a proportion of non-commercial access to outdoor media or commercial community notices and public artworks. Local authorities may also tax the revenue raised through advertising, which could be used to provide public access. City planning should also explicitly consider how the capacity of different publics to access the outdoor media landscape and space changes.

  1. We need to get rid of the most harmful advertising

Not all products that are advertised are equal. Advertising of some products – such as cigarettes and fast food – is already restricted in some areas to ensure the safety of children and adults who are exposed to the messages. Banning advertising of carbon and energy intensive products and activities such as fossil fuels, SUVs and frequent flights can have a great effect on the social norms, practices and consumption patterns surrounding these activities. For example, Amsterdam wants to become the first city in the world to ban fossil fuel advertising

We need to consider the social and environmental impacts of advertising from a system perspective. How is the normalisation and encouragement of problematic practices through advertising considered? Currently planning officers may reject outdoors corporate advertising based on road safety and amenities concerns, but they do not make climate and energy considerations. They also do not necessarily consider the impacts on social equality, communities and well-being. The lawfulness of advertising should be scrutinised against these wider social and environmental concerns.

Greenwashing and spreading of miscommunication through advertising should also be a major concern as it may hamper local actions for climate neutrality and community well-being. Encouraging a public debate and transparency in advertising  will support city planners and regulators in their judgements. 

  1. We need to reduce the scale of advertising altogether

Advertising provision in the cities is self-interested and for-profit and at best only partly considers the broader social and environmental issues in the city. Prioritising the provision of information in advertising and establishing stricter criteria to allow advertising in public spaces is key to reduce growth dependence and make cities more livable and resilient. Moving away from advertising is necessary to build resilience as it will allow a shift away from damaging activities and will support the development of alternative, solidarity society and use of public space.

  1. Get involved in the movement

AdBlock Leeds, as a part of a larger Adfree Cities network in the UK, holds corporate advertising in the city accountable for the hidden costs associated with it. Our vision is one of happier lives and stronger communities and we welcome everyone who shares it. Social movements are powerful initiators of change, so if you are concerned about the amount of advertising in your city, join or start such a group.

Together, let’s reclaim our public spaces!

This piece was updated on 5 April 2021 to make minor corrections to figures

1 School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds

2 AdBlock Leeds, https://adblockleeds.wordpress.com/

Dr. Katherine Trebeck

A major report published this week calls for the Scottish Government to introduce wellbeing budgeting to improve lives for children as part of a radical systems change in the wake of the coronavirus.

The new report, Being Bold: Building Budgets for Children’s Wellbeing, by WEAll Advocacy and Influencing lead Dr Katherine Trebeck, with Amy Baker, was commissioned by national charity Children in Scotland, early years funder Cattanach and the Carnegie UK Trust.

Click here to download and read the report

It makes a series of bold calls focused on redirecting finances to tackling root causes of inequality and poverty as Scotland emerges from Covid. Key recommendations include:

  • A post-Covid spending review, with all spend proposals assessed against evidence of impact on children’s wellbeing
  • Training of the civil service to ensure effective budget development and analysis, and moving to multi-year budgeting aligned with wellbeing goals
  • Establishing an independent agency, modeled on the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, to support activity and scrutinise effectiveness of delivery of wellbeing budgeting by the government
  • An overarching change to the ways of working in the Scottish Government budget process to ingrain greater transparency; cross-departmental working; and a participatory approach involving the public and the diversity of children’s voices.

The report argues that the Scottish Government’s stated aims of improving wellbeing across society and addressing the fact that one quarter of children live in relative poverty cannot be met unless we create conditions for our youngest children to be healthy and supported from the outset.

To do this, it makes the case for directing funds at root causes that diminish child wellbeing, rather than targeting symptoms ‘downstream’, which is inefficient, stifles implementation of policy and legislation, and slows ambitions for societal change.

First steps towards wellbeing budgets would involve holding a conversation with the public about budget-setting to absorb lived experience; interrogating data to ‘map’ the distribution of wellbeing in Scotland; and ensuring policy development was properly connected to evidence on what would actually change outcomes for children and addressing the root causes of what undermines their wellbeing.

The report’s lead author, Dr Katherine Trebeck, said:

“If the Scottish budget is to be a mechanism that brings about change, we need to create a context where children can flourish in Scotland. Then we need to think about a few fundamentals. The budget needs to be holistic, human, outcomes-oriented, and rights-based. It needs to be long-term, upstream, preventative and precautionary. Finally, a bold budget for children’s wellbeing needs to be participatory – children’s voices in all their diversity need to be at the heart of setting the budget agenda.”

Katherine speaks about the report in more detail in this short video:

Sophie Flemig, Chief Executive of Cattanach, said:

“This report shows why it is necessary to set out a high-level vision for wellbeing outcomes and hardwire it into government processes. Countries need to acknowledge that the economy is in service of wellbeing goals, not a goal in and of itself. Meaningful public involvement is key. Ministerial responsibility for wellbeing outcomes drives progress. And cross-departmental work is essential for success.”

Jennifer Wallace, Head of Policy at Carnegie UK Trust, said:

“This project has focused on one important lever of change – the finance system, the way that we think about money and spend in Scotland, asking: what is value for money when we’re talking about our children’s lives? We know it’s not a silver bullet, but we do think it’s important that we consider how we spend that money if we’re going to begin improving outcomes for children and putting our money where our mouth is when it comes to children’s wellbeing.”

As the election campaign approaches, and following Tuesday’s vote to incorporate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law, the report’s calls and the case for wellbeing budgeting informs Children in Scotland’s manifesto for 2021-26, backed by organisations across the children’s sector.

The report is published as Scotland takes stock of the damage the pandemic has done to individuals, families, communities, and the macroeconomy, and an increasing number of people recognise that we must not revert to pre-Covid ways of working.

Jackie Brock, Chief Executive of Children in Scotland, said:

“Now is the time for us to reset our economy and the way in which we prioritise our budgets. Katherine’s work gives us a real manifesto for how we will secure children’s rights and wellbeing. We call on you to read the report, particularly the section which identifies what the crucial next steps are. We don’t need any more research or evidence – we need to work together to put a budget for Scotland’s children into place, this year, and we look forward to working with you to make that happen.”

This content is reposted from Children in Scotland

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

WEAll Policy Design Guidebook

“This guide has been co-created by the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) to support visionary policy makers, to build more just and sustainable economies for people and planet.”

Being Bold: Building Budgets for Children’s Wellbeing – Dr. Katherine Trebeck

“The report argues that the Scottish Government’s stated aims of improving wellbeing across society and addressing the fact that one quarter of children live in relative poverty cannot be met unless we create conditions for our youngest children to be healthy and supported from the outset.”

Chasing Carbon Markets: The Deception of Carbon Markets and “Net Zero”

“Net zero” is a smokescreen, a conveniently invented concept that is both dangerous and problematic because of how effectively it hides inaction. We have to unpack “net zero” strategies and pledges to see which are real and which are fake. Fake zero strategies rely on offsets, rather than real emission reductions. Real zero strategies require emissions to really go to zero, or as close to zero as possible

Mindset Shifts: What are they? Why do they matter? How do they happen?

This report is intended as a resource for all those working on and funding mindset shifts.The research yields clear lessons and recommendations for how advocates, activists, funders,and other practitioners can maximize the impact of their efforts to change how we thinkabout social issues in order to change the contexts and structures that shape our experiencesand realities

SBTI … Net Zero Targets … TCFD … ESG Investment … resistance bubbles up that ‘trust us, we’re big’​ is not sufficient any longer

It is clear that ‘business as usual’ is not sufficient any longer (and hasn’t been for long), and remaining incremental ‘steps in the right direction’ are wilful predatory delay and not part of the solution. Now, do we have the tools at hand to react sufficiently and responsibly?

Devastatingly pervasive: 1 in 3 women globally experience violence

“Violence disproportionately affects women living in low- and lower-middle-income countries.  An estimated 37% of women living in the poorest countries have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence in their life, with some of these countries having a prevalence as high as 1 in 2.”

Health Verses Wealth?

“This briefing, by drawing attention to the longer term interactions between public health and the economy, dispels the myth that measures to protect public health are necessarily detrimental to economic well-being. Whilst difficult choices do have to be made, this ‘health versus wealth’ mentality is shown to be a false dichotomy.”

The Key to Good Collaboration, by Mark Gough

“So why then, when almost every organization claims that “collaboration is key”, do we often feel that it is an annoyance, a necessary evil and that it slows down progress?”

Changing Words to Change Society: The Marriage Equality Case in the US

By focusing on what Susan Blackmore calls memes, core ideas that help shape culture, like words and phrases, we wanted to visualize whether a controversial issue like marriage equality and the language used to describe it changed over time

Participation and Change: Lessons From the Future

“Participatory processes are giving us glimpses of how we can mainline public opinion into decision-making and regulate for the type of climate action that would match public concern. I am certainly excited by the developments and momentum in participatory and deliberative democratic processes. But how confident are we that these types of process will always truly reflect a public mandate?”

Building the Transition Together: WEAll’s Perspective on Creating a Wellbeing Economy

There is not one blueprint for a Wellbeing Economy; the shape, institutions and activities that get us there will look different in different contexts, both across countries and between different communities within countries. However, the high-level goals for a Wellbeing Economy are the same everywhere.

Job Openings & Opportunities

What to Watch

Listen Up

Upcoming Events

WEAll Originals  

Blogs:

Publications:

From the Archives

Amanda Janoo WEAll’s Knowledge & Policy Lead 

Around the world, people are losing faith in their governments. According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer  over half of the world now believes our current economic system is doing more harm than good and that democracy is being eroded. Policy makers are increasingly viewed as facilitators of the growing inequality, injustice and environmental destruction that afflict our world rather than protectors and champions of our wellbeing. 

It is easy to understand this growing distrust in government when you live in a country like mine. When the COVID pandemic first hit, our President, Donald Trump legitimized inaction by saying “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA…Stock Market looks very good to me!” His barometer for our national health was the stock market and his first concern was how this pandemic would affect our economy. As if forgetting that we are the economy and that there is no greater cost than life itself. This confusion begins to make some sense when we consider that we evaluate our national success by our level of economic growth (GDP) not by our level of wellbeing. 

Around the world however, from the local to the global, policy makers are flipping this script. Recognizing that we’ve confused means and ends for too long. That people and planet are not here to serve the economy, it is here to serve us. That the economy is just the way that we produce and provide for one another and that we can produce things in a way that regenerates our world and provide to one another in a way that ensures wellbeing now and for generations to come. 

We find hope and inspiration in the leaders of the Wellbeing Economy Governments, such as Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand who has said: “Capitalism has failed our people. If you have hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive, that’s a blatant failure. What else could you describe it as?” The wellbeing economy movement is not just being driven by heads of state, at all levels of government there are visionary policy makers who recognize the failures of our current economic system and are working to build a more  just and sustainable world. 

The challenge of course is that our current economic thinking has not only determined our measures of progress but also our government structures, power dynamics and cultural narratives. Developing a Wellbeing Economy is therefore not only about different measures or policies but critically about changing our relationship to the economy and our approach to its management and governance. The transformation we seek requires all of us, because we are the economy. It requires us to expand our imagination regarding what the economy is and can be. It needs all of us, with each of our unique gifts to co-create policies that can realign our economic systems with our values and objectives. Such a transformation can feel daunting, but just because a path is not paved does not mean we should not strive forward. 

With this in mind, the WEAll membership came together to co-create a Wellbeing Economy Policy Design Guide, illustrating that we can expand our notion of value and progress and proactively build an economy that can deliver social justice on a healthy planet. 

This guide challenges one-size-fits-all economic thinking by celebrating a diversity of approaches and values. It embraces the complex and intangible and empowers all people to participate in this transformative project. It moves us beyond viewing governments as market enablers to proactive agents of change. It re-embeds the economy back into our society and environment and calls for an integrated, holistic and co-creative approach. And it makes all of these very radical shifts in how we design economic policies seem down-right practical.

This short guide is filled with an abundance of case studies, tools and tips from our members on how to design policies for a Wellbeing Economy. More specifically, you’ll find resources and ideas on how to:

  1. Understand what matters for wellbeing, and how to craft and communicate wellbeing visions and measurements 
  2. Identify the areas of economic life that are most important for wellbeing,  managing trade-offs and confronting power dynamics 
  3. Assess and co-create Wellbeing Economy policies through meaningful participation 
  4. Successfully implement Wellbeing Economy policies by empowering local stakeholders and communities to create, adapting and aligning these policies to their context 
  5. Evaluate wellbeing for learning, adaptation and success 

This guide is just the beginning, as the wellbeing economy is still young and there are many questions that remain unanswered, many tools still to be developed and many more experiences to learn from. This guide aims to be practical without being overly prescriptive so that you can align these policy design processes and ideas to your unique context. Our request is that you share your experience with us so that we can learn together how to transform this thing we call an economy through deliberative, inclusive and democractic processes. The process we use to get to the future is the future we will get. 

Now is the time to move beyond critique of our economic system & governments and proactively work to transform them in line with our values & objectives. Now is the time to experiment and consider radical new ways to mold and direct our economy to deliver social justice on a healthy planet. Together we can show the world that a Wellbeing Economy is not only possible but already underway. 

To learn more:

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

Changing Words to Change Society: The Marriage Equality Case in the US

By focusing on what Susan Blackmore calls memes, core ideas that help shape culture, like words and phrases, we wanted to visualize whether a controversial issue like marriage equality and the language used to describe it changed over time

Participation and Change: Lessons From the Future

“Participatory processes are giving us glimpses of how we can mainline public opinion into decision-making and regulate for the type of climate action that would match public concern. I am certainly excited by the developments and momentum in participatory and deliberative democratic processes. But how confident are we that these types of process will always truly reflect a public mandate?”

Building the Transition Together: WEAll’s Perspective on Creating a Wellbeing Economy

There is not one blueprint for a Wellbeing Economy; the shape, institutions and activities that get us there will look different in different contexts, both across countries and between different communities within countries. However, the high-level goals for a Wellbeing Economy are the same everywhere.

Guia Prático e Interseccional Para Cidades Mais Inclusivas – Sarah Gamrani (#36×36)

Covid-19 and 21st century public ownership

“In place of extraction, we need to mainstream generative forms of enterprise: purposeful business serving social and environmental needs, providing decent, rewarding forms of work, and building sustainable, equitably shared wealth.”

The Biggest Payoff From Stockton’s Basic Income Program: Jobs

People who received the cash reported less pain, anxiety and fatigue, and spent more time with their kids. But perhaps the most significant change associated with the program was its effect on their work status: Among recipients, the rate of full-time employment leaped 12 percentage points over the course of just one year.

L’Internationale Online

“This collection draws upon the complexity of ethical, ecological and political frameworks and reveals other perspectives on the current crisis through critical essays, storytelling, science fiction, biomorphic design, audiovisual traces of artistic practices and allegorical maps”

Budget 2021: Five priorities for a green and fair economic recovery | APPG letter to the Chancellor, 1 Mar 2021

“Every decision that the Treasury makes should be through a climate, nature and equality lens, and this budget must be the start.”

Relationship-to-Profit: A Theory of Business, Markets, and Profit for Social Ecological Economics – Jennifer Hinton

“The result is a new theory about how relationship-to-profit (the legal difference between for-profit and not-for-profit forms of business) plays a key role in the sustainability of an economy, due to the ways in which it guides and constrains actors’ behavior, and drives larger market dynamics.”

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By Tabitha Jayne

The world of sustainability is confusing. With the drive towards net-zero targets increasing and the pressure of COP26 happening in Scotland this year, it’s easy to think that business is expected to make a quantum leap.

In reality, it’s a journey that we are already on. Many businesses are already on their wellbeing journey. They just don’t know it yet because the language used creates barriers instead of connection.

WEAll Scotland has partnered with Scottish Enterprise (via the Co-operative Development Scotland service) and Remarkable to explore how businesses in Scotland are active in creating a wellbeing economy and how they can do more to contribute to fairer, more inclusive working practices in Scotland.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

There are also twenty-one supporting partners helping us by sharing the survey with their networks:

  • Business in the Community
  • Community Enterprise in Scotland
  • Development Trusts Association Scotland
  • Foundation Scotland
  • Institute of Directors
  • Linwood Community Trust
  • Mindset Experts
  • Natural Change
  • Net Zero Community
  • North Ayrshire Council
  • Remade Network
  • RSA – Royal Society for Arts, Manufacturers & Commerce
  • Scotland CAN B
  • Scottish Council for Development &  Industry
  • Scottish Football Club
  • Scottish Institute of Business Leaders
  • ScienceFest
  • Scottish Business Network
  • Social Investment Scotland
  • VisitScotland Business Events

This is a powerful example of collaboration for a wellbeing economy. 

But why do we need a wellbeing economy?

A couple of weeks ago, my mum told me how a friend of the family had killed himself. As a farmer, he turned to renting out caravans to support himself because he couldn’t survive from what he made from the land. With Covid-19 regulations, he had no source of additional income.

Farmers have a high suicide rate, but we don’t talk about it. They are victims of an economic system designed to exploit people and nature.

Last year, my sister-in-law’s nephew found his friend dead from a drug overdose. He is 17 and has already lost two more friends to suicide. They too are victims of an economic system that doesn’t work.

When I was seven, I nearly died from an asthma attack caused by air pollution. I am a survivor of an economic system that doesn’t work. If you’re reading this, so are you.

It’s time for the economic system to change. A wellbeing economy is a way of preventing needless deaths. It puts people and nature at the heart of our economic system because we are the economy.

Business has an essential role to play in this transition. Yet too often the actions of big business pollute how we view the way business is done.

As an entrepreneur and business owner, I deeply care about those who work for me and for the community I live in. That’s where the journey of a wellbeing business starts.

And that’s why I’m working on behalf of WEAll Scotland to create a survey on business and the wellbeing economy.

If you’re a business (of any kind and structure), we’d love for you to take part.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE THE SURVEY

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

L’Internationale Online

“This collection draws upon the complexity of ethical, ecological and political frameworks and reveals other perspectives on the current crisis through critical essays, storytelling, science fiction, biomorphic design, audiovisual traces of artistic practices and allegorical maps”

Budget 2021: Five priorities for a green and fair economic recovery | APPG letter to the Chancellor, 1 Mar 2021

“Every decision that the Treasury makes should be through a climate, nature and equality lens, and this budget must be the start.”

Regenerative Agriculture White Paper Sets Out Pressing Research Priorities

“The white paper is the result of intensive collaboration and consultation with more than 200 people from June to November 2020. Collaborators include farmers and growers, researchers, primary industry bodies, banks, retailers, non-governmental organisations, government departments, large corporates, consultants, marketers, overseas researchers and educators.”

Why Understanding & Embracing Suffering is Important to Flourishing and Fundamental Peace

“The key message is simple – it is neither necessary nor desirable to eliminate human struggles and frailties to pursue a flourishing human life. Creating a proper attitude and response to our limitations, challenges, and suffering is the best way to a flourishing life.”

Relationship-to-Profit: A Theory of Business, Markets, and Profit for Social Ecological Economics – Jennifer Hinton

“The result is a new theory about how relationship-to-profit (the legal difference between for-profit and not-for-profit forms of business) plays a key role in the sustainability of an economy, due to the ways in which it guides and constrains actors’ behavior, and drives larger market dynamics.”

21st Century Sustainable Enterprise Force Field

“The desired state for a company is being a truly sustainable enterprise that partners with other organizations to lead society to a more just, safe, healthy and resilient future. The 21st century sustainable enterprise force field is a dashboard of sustainability-related forces that affect companies”

UNCTAD Technology and Innovation Report 2021

Human development has been spurred by changes in technology. But so has inequality. Today’s staggering inequalities began to appear with the industrial revolution. The pace of technological change is accelerating due to digitalization and frontier technologies. New technologies can have severe downsides if they outpace a society’s ability to adapt.

2019/2020 Action Plan For The Office of The Youth Envoy (OYE)

“The Youth Envoy mission is to lead advocacy and champion youth agency in the prioritization of youth issues within continental, and other decision-making and
governance spaces.”

Beyond Race and Rota (January 2021) It Takes a System- The Systemic Nature of Racism and Pathways to Systems Change

There are three central pillars to race thinking as a mental model. The first pillar is that humanity can be differentiated along the lines of the category called ‘race’. The second is that there exists a racial hierarchy in which being white is the highest form of humanity. The third is that populations racially minoritised as ‘other than’ white are deeply and irreversibly biologically and/or culturally flawed. In other words, the racial order is largely fixed.

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This week we’re launching a new website –  Stories for Life – as an invitation to create new economic stories. 

It is time for a new design of our economic system. The world is facing a series of crises that are symptoms of our current economic story. This story is outdated, and untrue. It’s time we created new stories; stories that reflect our humanity and can ultimately lead to the creation of an economy that is in service to life. 

Telling these stories is a key pillar to WEAll’s work. Narrative seeps into all aspects of uprooting the old and re-creating the new global economic system. It is how we communicate about the economy that will ultimately create the base of power that is needed to call for the change to the system.

In WEAll’s theory of change, knowledge feeds that narrative, which feeds the powerbase which ultimately can reorient the system. 

Stories for Life has one purpose: to help create stories that contribute to the re-design of a healthier economy. It is a collaborative inquiry with Green Economy Coalition, Wellbeing Economy Alliance, The SpaceShip Earth and Friday Future Love which has been evolving since October 2019. The new website shares the thinking that has emerged so far, brimming with provocations and exciting new ideas for storytelling. 

This is just the start: we hope that exploring the site brings up questions, ideas and challenges. We want to hear them. We want your stories.

We need stories that help us better understand how we’re connected with the natural world and each other. 

This idea of interconnection, is in stark contrast to our current narrative that promotes ‘separation’ as the prevailing story. We can tell stories of interconnection by telling stories of life. Our lives. And, through these stories, we can then build an economy that is in service, to humanity and the environment. 

How do we ultimately change these stories? We move from ‘horror’ stories to ‘love’ stories. 

The two dominant stories are shared above. What other horror stories and love stories can you share?

We’d love for you to share your stories with us… comment on this blog below, tweet at @weall_alliance using #storiesforlife #horrorstories #lovestories and help us create an economy that prioritises the needs of people and the environment. 

Together, we can change the story of our economy, and bring about a global transformation of our economic system. Help us create our ‘love’ stories.

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

21st Century Sustainable Enterprise Force Field

“The desired state for a company is being a truly sustainable enterprise that partners with other organizations to lead society to a more just, safe, healthy and resilient future. The 21st century sustainable enterprise force field is a dashboard of sustainability-related forces that affect companies”

UNCTAD Technology and Innovation Report 2021

Human development has been spurred by changes in technology. But so has inequality. Today’s staggering inequalities began to appear with the industrial revolution. The pace of technological change is accelerating due to digitalization and frontier technologies. New technologies can have severe downsides if they outpace a society’s ability to adapt.

2019/2020 Action Plan For The Office of The Youth Envoy (OYE)

“The Youth Envoy mission is to lead advocacy and champion youth agency in the prioritization of youth issues within continental, and other decision-making and
governance spaces.”

Beyond Race and Rota (January 2021) It Takes a System- The Systemic Nature of Racism and Pathways to Systems Change

There are three central pillars to race thinking as a mental model. The first pillar is that humanity can be differentiated along the lines of the category called ‘race’. The second is that there exists a racial hierarchy in which being white is the highest form of humanity. The third is that populations racially minoritised as ‘other than’ white are deeply and irreversibly biologically and/or culturally flawed. In other words, the racial order is largely fixed.

How Waste Monopolies are Choking Environmental Solutions, and What We Can Do About It

“Monopoly power in the U.S. has reached catastrophic levels, affecting every corner of our economy and society. While this crisis is gaining more attention, particularly in the tech industry, there is much more to understand about how it affects our lives.”

Petition to the Government of Canada

“The consensus for the shift to a wellbeing economy is growing. 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 pressing for an economic reset that recognises human dependence on nature and includes measures of economic performance beyond GDP,  and most citizens agree that the government should prioritise health and wellbeing goals above economic growth.”

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The 36×36 project has officially commenced! This exciting initiative brings together femxle leaders from around the world to co-create a revolutionary architecture for the global economy. 

The neoliberal economic “story” has proliferated around the globe for decades, legitimising a huge concentration of wealth and power and the destruction of our environment. This story, based on “trickle-down”, free-market ideas, was crafted by a group of 36 men in 1947, at a resort in Switzerland. Despite the widely recognized failures of this economic ideology, it continues to dominate the way that we organise and govern systems of production and exchange. 

The Schumacher Institute, Collective Leadership Institute and Wellbeing Economy Alliance collaborated around the exciting notion that if 36 men could shape the old economic system, womxn could come together to transform it and create the new economy we all need. 

The three partner organisations were energised by the idea of a network of femxle leaders – a network that, far from being a closed shop like the “boys’ clubs” of old, would be diverse, collaborative and inclusive from the start. The first 36 womxn would be just the beginning of a femxle revolution in economic thinking – hence the idea of 36 by 36: a multiplier effect. 

“Up until the 21st century women’s voices were almost absent in the economic and finance discourse and decision making.  This project is a step in the direction for women to have an equal say.  It is absolutely crucial for the future of people and planet.” – Vala Ragnardottir, Schumacher Institute

After months of project development, outreach and dozens of incredible applications, the 36×36 project has now brought together a cohort of impressive womxn involved in a diverse range of pursuits to co-create this new vision. From 24 countries and a hugely diverse range of backgrounds, these womxn are already leading the way to a new economic system. Together, their change-making power multiples – find out who they are here.

What will they do?

The womxn will participate in a certified leadership program, interrogating the dimensions of a new economic system and what it will take to get there. They will host a series of public events to bring wider knowledge into the process, and they will collaborate on their shared challenges to advance their own work., All of this will culminate in a visionary manifesto that will lay out what is needed to change our economic system. 

 “Womxn have been in the forefront of naming the problems with prevailing economic thinking and practice. It is time that they take the lead in reinventing the purpose of economy: caring and serving life on this planet. And it is time that they become the drivers of transformations.” – Petra Kuenkel, Collective Leadership Institute

How can I get involved?

Over the next 9 months, these womxn will embark on a journey together to spark a femxle-led revolution in economic thinking. We invite all of you into this process: the programme and manifesto aim to reflect the wider new economic movement. 

“Economics continues to be dominated by old, white men and if we are serious about rebalancing the world, we must also rebalance the economics discipline. 36×36 provides an opportunity to build a transformative network, demonstrating that a different economic system is not only possible but just a few strategic decisions away” Amanda Janoo, WEAll 

To stay updated about the progress of 36×36, and hear about ways to get involved, check out the following:

36×36 Website

36×36 Newsletter

WEAll Citizens Platform, “36×36 Femxle Economic Revolutionaries group”

(WEAll Citizens > Groups > “36×36 Femxle Economic Revolutionaries”)

Last month, the WEAll Scotland team met with around 50 of our friends and colleagues at the (strictly virtual) pub for an evening of discussion, reflection, and games. It was a chance to chat about what WEAll Scotland accomplished last year, how the wellbeing economy movement is progressing, and also for our guests to tell us about what they’ve been working on.

Before we moved on to the festivities (the WEAll Scotland team runs a top-quality scavenger hunt, after all), we sent a survey round for people to fill out as and when they wished throughout the evening.

One of the more fun questions?

“What was your least favourite buzzword of 2020?”

We want to share some of the responses with you.

Happy reading, and please drop us a message if you’d like to share your own least favourite buzzwords with us, too.

What were your least favourite buzzwords of 2020?

2020. It was an unprecedented year—although maybe we shouldn’t use that particular word, since it was officially the least popular buzzword from last year . . . at least according to our guests at last month’s WEAll Scotland social.

After unprecedented, other unpopular buzzwords included new normal, world beating, and the last name of a certain former US president.

Not everyone suggested buzzwords they thought were bad, of course. Take social distancing, for example, which was one of the responses that didn’t crack the top 10, so it’s not featured in the list below. Social distancing is a vital practice just now. But it’s also understandable that some of these terms become part of the background noise after one hears them 57 times in a single day.

That’s what we work to avoid with wellbeing economy. Yes, it’s a phrase that we use a lot, but its meaning is both tangible and highly relevant to Scotland and the world: an economy that enables social justice on a healthy planet. Sounds like a pretty good idea after all the uncertainty of 2020, eh?

But back to the buzzwords.

In order of un-popularity, here are our guests’ top 10 least popular buzzwords of 2020:

  1. Unprecedented
  2. New normal
  3. World beating
  4. Trump
  5. Pivot
  6. Moonshot
  7. Cummings
  8. Brexit
  9. Woke
  10. Maga

There you have it! And remember, this was just an ice breaker game–all in good fun. But we do hope it got you thinking about communication and how we can go about it in 2021.

So with that, in an unprecedented year of new normals, we hope you enjoyed our world-beating list of buzzwords. And if not, maybe you’ll pivot after giving it another read.

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

Escaping the Growth & Jobs Treadmill- European Environmental Bureau

“Livelihoods matter. Not just for the richest in society. But for all of us. Labour matters. Not just as the means to production but as an investment in the building of society. Work matters. Not just as the means to an income but as the tangible manifestation of our commitment to a collective future.”

Petition to the Government of Canada

“The consensus for the shift to a wellbeing economy is growing. 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 pressing for an economic reset that recognises human dependence on nature and includes measures of economic performance beyond GDP,  and most citizens agree that the government should prioritise health and wellbeing goals above economic growth.”

Climate Justice Playbook for Business – B Corporation

As the source of the vast majority of the planet’s greenhouse gases, the business sector is uniquely culpable for the climate emergency. The business sector is therefore responsible for demonstrating leadership in eliminating emissions, drawing down carbon as rapidly as possible, and directly addressing the injustices brought about or exacerbated by climate change.

The Power of Corporations in a Digital World – Oxfam Report

“Our key concern is to consider the significance of data and algorithms, the establishment of monopolies, and policy assumptions in competition law. Our touchstone is whether digitalization supports the social and ecological transformation of the economic system or – what we hope to avoid – hampers it.”

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As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

Climate Justice Playbook for Business – B Corporation

As the source of the vast majority of the planet’s greenhouse gases, the business sector is uniquely culpable for the climate emergency. The business sector is therefore responsible for demonstrating leadership in eliminating emissions, drawing down carbon as rapidly as possible, and directly addressing the injustices brought about or exacerbated by climate change.

The Power of Corporations in a Digital World – Oxfam Report

“Our key concern is to consider the significance of data and algorithms, the establishment of monopolies, and policy assumptions in competition law. Our touchstone is whether digitalization supports the social and ecological transformation of the economic system or – what we hope to avoid – hampers it.”

Bridging the Divide Between Impact Investing and Native America – Stanford Social Innovation Review

Saying that it’s important to include Indigenous Peoples in decision-making practices is one thing, but if the majority lack capital screens founded on Indigenous principles and practices, how can it translate into action?

The Economics of Biodiversity – Dasgupta Review

“It would seem then that, ultimately, we each have to serve as judge and jury for our own actions. And that cannot happen unless we develop an affection for Nature and its processes. As that affection can flourish only if we each develop an appreciation of Nature’s workings, the Review ends with a plea that our education systems should introduce Nature studies from the earliest stages of our lives, and revisit them in the years we spend in secondary and tertiary education. The conclusion we should draw from this is unmistakable: if we care about our common future and the common future of our descendants, we should all in part be naturalists.”

Crack the Crises – The Global Goals

“Join organisations from across the UK, advocating for a better future for people and planet, have come together in this new coalition. We want to bring people together to tackle these crises by taking individual actions, by supporting others and by asking decision-makers to act.”

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The entrenched nature of racism in our current economic system is abundantly clear. All over the world, there are cases where one race or class of people are discriminating against and exploiting the ‘other’. This trend is seen with the Rohingya in Myanmar, Africans residing in China, and globally reflected by the massive civil rights protests for #BlackLivesMatter. The discrimination against an ‘other’ is unfortunately a key tenet of how our global economy operates.

It goes without saying that in order to develop a new global economic system that delivers social justice on a healthy planet, we must ensure that these trends do not continue. It is vital that this emergent system is actively ‘antiracist’. 

What does it mean to be antiracist?

Before we can define antiracism, we must define racism. In his book, “How to be an Antiracist”, Ibram X. Kendi defines racism as, “a marriage of racist policies and racist ideas that produces and normalises racial inequities.” 

Racist ideas suggest that one racial group is inferior or superior to another racial group in any way. Racist policies come about when these ideas influence decision making on how to distribute opportunities and power, often unfairly and unequally As a result, we see racial inequity, when two or more racial groups are not standing on approximate or equal footing to access benefits from our collective systems, such as the financial system or the political system. 

These definitions show that racism goes beyond individuals having prejudices; it is about how those beliefs translate into power imbalances that perpetuate massively different life chances and life outcomes between two racial groups. 

For greater clarification – this is about inequity, not inequality. See the graphic below which illustrates the difference of these two phrases.

Artist: Angus Maguire

In contrast, Antiracism is “a powerful collection of antiracist policies that lead to racial equity and are substantiated by antiracist ideas.” 

We are not simply looking for equality, which is giving everyone the same opportunities, but does not consider everyone’s starting points. We are looking to remove the barriers and address the systemic factors that have disadvantaged certain groups, so that everyone ultimately ends up with the same standing. This is equity.

Simply put, antiracism promotes equity, and racism promotes inequity. 

This framing allows for a simple way to identify which policies are racist or antiracist. For example, do-nothing climate policy is racist since the non-white Global South is being victimised by climate change more than the whiter Global North. 

Transitioning away from policies that promote inequity, requires a shift in how we think about our economic system. 

Our current system – underpinned by capitalism [‘an economic system characterised by private ownership for the means of production, especially in the industrial sector’] latches onto existing hierarchies in a society – like gender or race – exploits and exacerbates them, and creates new hierarchies”. As Cedric Robinson states, “Without this ability to exploit existing divisions, the profit margins of the corporations that drive capitalism would be seriously undermined.”

This insight shares the reasoning behind building racial hierarchies in society; to build hierarchies of value. In the Open Democracy Podcast, “Is Capitalism Racist”, Dalia Gebria points out that upholding these hierarchies, where some people do the dirty work that keep others alive, means that “you have to differentiate people into more worthy and less worthy, more human and less human, and with particular characteristics that make them seem ‘naturally suited’ to this work, all while concealing the fact that this differentiation is socially constructed.” 

Continuing to uphold these hierarchies in society will perpetuate the capitalist system that is underpinned by racist policies. Kendi says, “Whoever creates the norm creates the hierarchy and positions their own race-class at the top of the hierarchy.” Meaning that, to dismantle these hierarchies of power and to ensure policies are not racist, policymaking must be inclusive of all the voices of communities. Building policies that are inherently collaborative, is the process needed to build a Wellbeing Economy

In a Wellbeing Economy, people and the planet are the priority. The focus is on building equity in societies all over the world. As Kendi writes, “Changing minds is not a movement. Critiquing racism is not activism. Changing minds is not activism. An activist produces power and policy change, not mental change.” 

This is why a core part of WEAll’s network is focused on convening and connecting stakeholders from different focus areas and geographies and bringing them into each other’s work thus catalysing new powerbases of people that can shift policy and structural change in our economic system. This is created through our place-based Hubs, [ScotlandCosta Rica, Iceland, Cymru- Wales, California, New Zealand], which advocate for policy change, and the establishment of the WEGo Partnership, which is the world’s only living lab testing Wellbeing Economy policies.

To transition towards a Wellbeing Economy, our future policies must stop thinking of transaction, value extraction, and accumulation, but rather begin to think about togetherness, survival, and repair. We are all on the same planet, in this complex system; as one.

Visit our anti-oppression page to learn more about how to incorporate antiracist decision making into your work. 

Our upcoming Wellbeing Economy Policy Design Guidebook will also outline the specific tools needed for policymaking that promotes equity. 

If you are interested in starting a WEAll Hub in your local area, see our Hub Guide.  

Written by Isabel Nuesse

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

The Economics of Biodiversity – Dasgupta Review

“It would seem then that, ultimately, we each have to serve as judge and jury for our own actions. And that cannot happen unless we develop an affection for Nature and its processes. As that affection can flourish only if we each develop an appreciation of Nature’s workings, the Review ends with a plea that our education systems should introduce Nature studies from the earliest stages of our lives, and revisit them in the years we spend in secondary and tertiary education. The conclusion we should draw from this is unmistakable: if we care about our common future and the common future of our descendants, we should all in part be naturalists.”

Crack the Crises – The Global Goals

“Join organisations from across the UK, advocating for a better future for people and planet, have come together in this new coalition. We want to bring people together to tackle these crises by taking individual actions, by supporting others and by asking decision-makers to act.”

The Little Book of Flourishing – The Flourishing Institute

“Resilient children are made, not born. Children become resilient as a result of the levels of stress and nurturing that they experience early on in life. If our early experiences are dysfunctional they will lead to changes in the way we respond and behave. The healthier the relationships a child has, the more likely he or she will be able to recover from trauma and thrive.”

Achieving an Economy of Wellbeing in Europe Healthy Europe

“All Policies for a Healthy Europe is calling on the EU and its Member States to step up to the challenge and grasp the opportunity offered by the pandemic to effectively move beyond GDP as the main indicator for economic and all other policies”

Quarterly of the European Observatory of Health Systems and Policies – Opinion Piece from Katherine Trebeck “The Wellbeing Economy Agenda”

“Why go back to an economy that treats many of our most essential workers so badly and which implicitly tolerates such inequalities? The economic systems of some countries generate insecurity, despair and loneliness, which spurs desperate searches for ways to cope, whether at the pill box or the ballot box.”

Job Openings & Opportunities

What to Watch

Listen Up

Upcoming Events

WEAll Originals  

Blogs:

Publications:

From the Archives

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

Achieving an Economy of Wellbeing in Europe Healthy Europe

“All Policies for a Healthy Europe is calling on the EU and its Member States to step up to the challenge and grasp the opportunity offered by the pandemic to effectively move beyond GDP as the main indicator for economic and all other policies”

Quarterly of the European Observatory of Health Systems and Policies – Opinion Piece from Katherine Trebeck “The Wellbeing Economy Agenda”

“Why go back to an economy that treats many of our most essential workers so badly and which implicitly tolerates such inequalities? The economic systems of some countries generate insecurity, despair and loneliness, which spurs desperate searches for ways to cope, whether at the pill box or the ballot box.”

The Alternatives Project – Project Launch – Sign their statement!

“We, the undersigned, believe that current social, economic, political, and educational arrangements reproduce relations of power that engineer profound inequities and will ultimately threaten life on the planet. We stand for alternative pedagogies and for just, regenerative education systems that will support the social transformations we need in order to create a richer, more equitable, and sustainable world.”

The Case for an Ecological Interest Rate – Policy Research in MacroEconomics

Driving all this growth and increased consumption is, of course, our economic and financial system, with money and its price as lubricant and enabler. What can be done about it?

Building a Resilient Economy – WWF, ZOE, NEF & WEAll

“In the wake of COVID, tackling the multiple interlinked crises the world is facing – climate change, biodiversity loss, food and water security, and inequality among others – requires policy makers to answer a key question: where should we focus to help drive this transition most rapidly, efficiently and fairly?”

Job Openings & Opportunities

What to Watch

Listen Up

Upcoming Events

WEAll Originals  

Blogs:

Publications:

From the Archives