Laura Sharples said that she launched this petition campaign because “the economy is really about stories, but the mainstream narratives at the moment work to disempower us by disconnecting us from our communities and nature.
“The economy has been designed – and it can and must be redesigned.”
Caroline Lucas urged people to support the petition, saying: “The window of opportunity is open. That’s the exciting thing – we have a real chance for a fundamental economic reset.”
Katherine Trebeck affirmed this, saying: “This petition is so incredibly important. If we can get it to 10,000, or 100,000 signatures, it demonstrates to Government that there’s demand there, that this is what people want and they can be on the right side of history.”
The petition states:
“We urgently need the Government to prioritise the health and wellbeing of people and planet, by pursuing a Wellbeing Economy approach. To deliver a sustainable and equitable recovery, the Treasury should target social and environmental goals, rather than fixating on short-term profit and growth.More details
A narrow focus on GDP growth has led us to environmental, health and financial crises. The UK is the 6th largest economy in the world, yet roughly a third of our children live in poverty. Two thirds of the public want the Treasury to put wellbeing above growth. Scotland and Wales are already part of the Wellbeing Economy Governments alliance. As host of the COP26 climate summit, the UK Government should build and champion a Wellbeing Economy – at home and globally.”
https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1531561452248-84db55b6d9a2?ixid=MnwxNTM4NDN8MHwxfGFsbHx8fHx8fHx8fDE2MTgzMjMzMzE&ixlib=rb-1.2.1&fm=jpg&q=85&fit=crop&w=2560&h=170717072560lisahttps://wellbeingeconomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/WEAll-logo-300x119.pnglisa2021-04-13 14:17:242021-04-13 14:17:27UK petition demands a shift to a Wellbeing Economy
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.
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.”
And it owns other popular platforms like Instagram and Whatsapp.
With this much power, tech is no longer just a ‘tech issue’. It’s a societal and economic issue!
Serving the common good?
“We may use the information we receive from them, and they may use the information we share with them, to help operate, provide, improve, understand, customize, support, and market our Services and their offerings.”
In reading about these issues, you have to wonder:
Is Facebook serving the common good? 👀
It all comes down to the business model.
As a vehicle for creativity and innovation, business is a key player in creating the solutions we need to deliver social justice on a healthy planet. But in our current system, finance and the economy tend to serve themselves, rather than serving society and the environment. 👎
“Today, society and the environment are serving business, when business needs to be the servant of society.”
Martin Rich, Co-Founder and Executive Director at Future Fit
Since economist Milton Friedman declared that “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits” in a 1970 New York Times op-ed, the ideal of ‘profit maximisation’ and continual growth to increase shareholder value has become the dominant model for how businesses operate. This often means deprioritising the interests of others stakeholders.
This seems to be true in the case of Facebook.
As Alan Woodward, a computer scientist at the University of Surrey, explains,
“Facebook openly says that their business model is to use data related to users for profit.”
This explains why we can use social media platforms for ‘free’. This makes logical sense. How else would they make money? 🤷♀️
This raises a foundational question:
If Facebook’s primary goal and business model was not centred around growth and profit maximisation, how might it approach issues of data privacy and digital safety? 🤔
Social Media in a Wellbeing Economy
“If a business is designed to maximise financial return, delivering environmental and social return as well, is inevitably a cost on the bottom line and competes with the financial return. However, if a business is designed to deliver environmental and social return as well as financial, it enhances rather than competes with financial return.”
Hugo Spowers, Chief Engineer and Founder of Riversimple
To see business playing a key role in the shift toward a Wellbeing Economy (where the economy serves society as its core purpose), they must embody the principles of ‘Wellbeing Businesses”. These include:
Connection – a corporate culture that aligns the organisational purpose with collective values. 🙏
Dignity – a business model that creates the means for employees, customers, suppliers and other stakeholders to live with dignity. ✊
Participation – balanced and values-based relationships with all stakeholders. 🤝
Olga Koretskaya and Gus Grosenbaugh explain that, to put these principles of care and responsibility into practice, Wellbeing Businesses work to:
1. Ensure transparency and accountability 🔍
When multinational corporations work across multiple regional and regulatory borders, it often leads to a lack of transparency and accountability.
“Listed companies are in effect owned by nobody, because everybody does. The result is a lack of responsibility.”
Martin Rich, Co-Founder and Executive Director at Future Fit
Wellbeing Businesses recognise the importance of transparency and disclose data about environmental, social, and economic performance to all employees and the public in a way that is easy to retrieve and understand, across the entire supply chain or footprint of the organisation.
2. Internalise externalities 🤓
A “negative externality” in business or industry is something that the business makes or produces, that negatively affects other people or the environment, and for which the business does not pay and is not reflected in the price. Wellbeing Businesses don’t ignore these “externalities” – they take responsibility for them and embrace different strategies for avoiding, reducing, or paying for harm.
Here are 10 proposals for concrete actions that tech companies like Facebook and governments can take to prevent social media platforms from damaging democracy, spreading hate, or inciting violence.
3. Evolve toward stewardship
As a business grows and occupies a new role in the market, Wellbeing businesses evolve toward a model of stewardship, so that a range of stakeholders have a say in the business decisions that affect them. Riversimple, an eco car company, demonstrates one way to do this. Their governance model includes representatives of 6 different stakeholder groups: The Environment, Customers, Communities, Staff, Investors and Commercial Partners.
Do I have a choice?
I know what you’re thinking – all of that is well and good, but what can I do about these issues around social media today?
In our own work, WEAll still has to use some social media as it helps us spread the messages of a Wellbeing Economy to global audiences. But while it may not be possible to fully step away from social media, we can start to take steps to reduce our participation in some of the harm these platforms cause (and hold them accountable to make changes!). 💪
“After careful consideration WEAll has come to the conclusion, shared by countless others, that Facebook is no longer a platform we want to engage with. We feel that to be actively present is to be complicit. Therefore, we will keep our page open – but will no longer be actively engaging with it. While we still as a team rely on WhatsApp and as an organization use Instagram – this is the first step to move away from these predatory platforms.”
WEAll message on our Facebook page
WEAll supports the #StopHateForProfit campaign, which calls for changes needed, including preventing lies in political ads, closing down groups that are associated with violence, and allowing victims of severe harassment to immediately reach a live Facebook representative for help.
Believe it or not, social media platforms like Facebook are not our only options to stay connected. 🙌
For example, if you’re looking to connect and collaborate with like minded changemakers in the movement toward a Wellbeing Economy, the WEAll Citizens platform is a great option.
With over 2200 active users daily and at least 30 new members joining each week, Citizens is a thriving space to connect and feel a sense of belonging – minus any advertisements. 😉
https://images.unsplash.com/photo-1522159698025-071104a1ddbd?ixid=MXwxNTM4NDN8MHwxfGFsbHx8fHx8fHx8&ixlib=rb-1.2.1&fm=jpg&q=85&fit=crop&w=2560&h=170717072560Rabia Abrarhttps://wellbeingeconomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/WEAll-logo-300x119.pngRabia Abrar2021-01-21 18:46:032021-01-22 13:49:01What might social media look like in a Wellbeing Economy?
Over the last 24 hours, like everyone else, I’ve cycled through an overwhelming series of emotions: disbelief, frustration, anger, helplessness, sadness, dread.
I felt especially sad because, while yesterday’s violent acts of white supremacy in Washington D.C. are news, white supremacy and the institutional and systemic racism1 that enables it, is far from new.
This past year has been a reckoning in the face of racial injustice and police violence. These systemic issues aren’t going away just because 2020 is over.
At the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll), we are working with a global network to bring about a Wellbeing Economy, an economy2 that delivers social justice on a healthy planet.
I’ll speak to the situation in North America. We are not there yet. There is still so much work to be done.
I had to go out for a walk to clear my head. As I trudged through the snow, I kept asking myself,
“Where do we go from here? Where do we even start?”
I don’t have all the answers (does anyone?!) But here’s what I do know.
1. Protect your mental health.
As I walked, I had to remind myself: does my frustration, on its own, help anyone? No. If we are to effectively deal with societal issues that are upsetting and exhausting, we’re going to need to protect our mental health. In the wise words of Oprah,
“Your real work is to figure out where your power base is. And to work on the alignment of your gifts that you have to give with the real reason why you’re here. The number one thing you have to do, is to work on yourself…and to fill yourself up, and keep your cup full.”
In short: You can only give or contribute to positive change if ‘your cup runneth over’. Honour yourself.
Breathe deeply, get some fresh air, talk to a friend, listen to music, dance to shake it off.
Today, I did all of the above.
2. Support organisations doing the work.
The social justice and environmental crises we face are multidimensional and interconnected. We don’t have to look any further than the COVID-19 crisis to see this. Indigenous and racialised communities are not only disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, but also by environmental issues, the effects of climate change, and poverty – and these issues reinforce one another. And since these issues are all interconnected, your support for organisations working to address any of them, is helping (as long as we hold them accountable to take an intersectional approach).
Once I’d had enough of reading and watching videos of yesterday’s riot on Instagram, I started to google social justice organisations I could donate to. Here’s a good list of Canadian social justice organisations I found.
Not everyone has the privilege to be able to donate. And even if you do, you may not have a lot that you are able to give. But if you can, even donating $5 is still $5that is flowing in to help move forward the change we need.
“Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something, anything.”
Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, Author and Animal Activist
Halfway through my walk, I remembered this excerpt from the Living Hyphen team’s anti-racism statement:
“We are committed to continuously (un)learning our role and responsibility in […] dismantling the mentality of white supremacy that exists as a result of this colonisation.”
Institutional racism in our economic, legal, and political systems is tied to power imbalances rooted in colonialism and capitalism. Before we can reimagine more equitable institutions and systems, we have to understand and acknowledge the impacts of colonialism that continue to exist today.
“Can we celebrate our communities’ achievements while also interrogating and rising up against the systems that led us here? How can we hold all these truths at once?”
While this felt like a heavy thought, it was also an empowering one. If I have a role to play in enabling or challenging systemic racism, I am not helpless to its effects. And I can get started right in my own small social circle.
With all of this in mind, I finished my walk feeling a little lighter and with a new emotion: resolve.
“Revolutions do not happen only in grand moments in public view but also in small pockets of people coming together to inhabit a new way of being. We birth the beloved community by becoming the beloved community.”
https://wellbeingeconomy.org/wp-content/uploads/Screen-Shot-2021-01-07-at-8.10.33-PM.png426564Rabia Abrarhttps://wellbeingeconomy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/WEAll-logo-300x119.pngRabia Abrar2021-01-08 00:57:552021-01-09 03:08:08Where do we go from here?