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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

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.”

Job Openings & Opportunities

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From the Archives

There is so much rich content out there in the world about a Wellbeing Economy. Part of our job is to amplify and connect the various initiatives and work that exists. 

These WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond every week. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

Opportunity Knocking – Jessica Rose, Marjorie Kelly | Democracy Collaborative  

“Impact investors and other capital providers could be the agents that help resolve this vicious crisis—stepping in to turn the misfortune of small-business owners into a new start for employee-owners. Capital could be the agent that begins to take employee ownership to scale in this pivotal moment in our nation’s history.”

Building a Resilient Economy – Barth J. and Coscieme L., Dimmelmeier, A., Kumar C., Mewes S., Abrar R., Nuesse I., Pendleton A., Trebeck K | ZOE, NEF, WEAll 

“The following chapters (and the research underpinning them) focus on the role of government and policy in delivering systemic change. We outline where public policymakers should place the emphasis in order to transform the world’s economic and financial systems most effectively to mitigate future environmental crises.”

Humanity Report– James Arbib & Tony Seba | RethinkX 

“We can choose to elevate humanity to new heights and use the upcoming convergence of technology disruptions to end poverty, inequality, resource conflict, and environmental destruction, all for a fraction of the cost we incur dealing with them today. Or we can choose to preserve the failing status quo and descend into another dark age like every leading civilization before us.“

Work-life balance and self-reported health among working adults in Europe: a gender and welfare state regime comparative analysis – Aziz Mensah & Nicholas Kofi Adjei | BMC Public Health

“The pressing demands of work over the years have had a significant constraint on the family and social life of working adults. Moreover, failure to achieve a ‘balance’ between these domains of life may have an adverse effect on their health. This study investigated the relationship between work-life conflict and self-reported health among working adults in contemporary welfare countries in Europe.”

Visions of a Wellbeing  Economy – Anna Chrysopoulou | Standard Social Innovation Review

“To solve the social, economic, and environmental challenges we face today, we need to rethink the status quo. Governments and other institutions around the world need to embrace new ways of thinking and actively engage in widespread systems innovation to make real progress toward a healthier, more prosperous world.”

The Little Book of Education – Wendy Ellyatt 

“If we want to create a better world, we have to start by looking at whether the values that we have been promoting to children through our education systems have been serving the long-term wellbeing and potential, within the context of a sustainable future”

Building Better Systems– The Rockwool Foundation

“System innovation is needed when two conditions apply. First when society faces a systemic challenge which requires a systemic response. Second when society has a systemic opportunity to create a new kind of system.” 

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This article was first published by New Statesman

By Sarah McKinley, Democracy Collaborative

Against a backdrop of Brexit uncertainties, Labour members this week launched a grassroots campaign urging the party to adopt a Green New Deal. Their campaign calls for an economic stimulus programme to decarbonise the economy, create green jobs in struggling regions and invest in public infrastructure. It was a welcome respite in a week of disaster news.

As one of the Labour group’s organisers told the Guardian newspaper, “climate change is fundamentally about class, because it means chaos for the many while the few profit.” Indeed, the “Green” in Green New Deal can be misleading. This isn’t just an environmental proposal, but one designed to protect peoples’ livelihoods and confront economic inequality.

The only way to address the climate crisis is to fundamentally change our current political economy – something that people including Gus Speth of the Democracy Collaborative have long argued. While partisan political rhetoric pits environmental concerns against economic growth, proposals for a Green New Deal opt instead to secure employment and confront structural inequities.

For those of us who have been working for years on economic and climate justice, it’s exciting to see these proposals capture public imagination and enter mainstream political discourse.  Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Sunrise Movement have championed the Green New Deal in the US, but this set of ideas is by no means new. Since 2007 the UK’s Green New Deal Group has argued for a transition towards a clean energy future that puts job protection and human rights at its centre.

The group, whose members include economist Ann Pettifor, tax campaigner Richard Murphy and the leader of the Green Party, Caroline Lucas, first published its Green New Deal proposals in July 2008, months before the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Ten years later, after a decade of austerity and political and social upheavals, it seems the world is finally ready for their ideas.

We cannot talk about climate change as a “long-term” prospect any more: the Intergovernmental Planet on Climate Change warns that there are less than 12 years left to avert climate disaster. The world’s most vulnerable communities are already bearing the unjust brunt of environmental breakdown—as seen in post-Katrina New Orleans and post-Maria Puerto Rico and, most recently, Cyclone Idai in Africa.

Tackling the climate crisis with the kind of rehashed neoliberal tactics attempted by French President Emmanuel Macron, with his policy of “green taxes”, is a recipe for double disaster. Carbon taxes are both inadequate for addressing environmental breakdown and guaranteed to exacerbate tensions in an increasingly unequal economy. It is time to stop tinkering around the edges and present comprehensive and systemic solutions to the onset climate crisis.

Movements intent on transforming our economy have gained traction in recent years; community wealth building efforts are overhauling local economies on both sides of the Atlantic and broadening ownership of capital and resources. New networks like the Wellbeing Economy Alliance are examining alternatives to our current economic system.  These initiatives articulate a new economic paradigm that confronts inequality and encompasses nature and community, rather than merely focussing on short-term profit and GDP.

To truly address environmental breakdown, we also need wartime-levels of investment and state intervention. If the Green New Deal were to become government policy, it would represent a huge victory for pro-environmental politics and a fusion of economic and environmental justice on a scale unprecedented in Europe. It would commit governments to an economic model that put planet above profit.

Some national governments are taking tentative steps towards a new economic paradigm: New Zealand has unveiled a wellbeing budget, Finland has an Economy of Wellbeing strategy, and Scotland is convening a group of progressive governments through its Wellbeing Economy Governmentsinitiative. Wales has recently introduced a Community Wealth Building Fund, and Labour has created a Community Wealth Building Unit to support towns and cities implementing local solutions.

But electoral cycles (to say nothing of Brexit cliff-edges) do not lend themselves to tackling systemic problems. As the climate strikes of Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and other school students have shown, young people are fearful that politicians are ignoring the impending crisis. With eyes firmly fixed on the future of their planet, their protests have magnified government silence.

To confront climate change, we can’t leave it all up to politicians. We need civil society, business, local government, finance and academia to mobilise and collaborate; to cross borders and build regional and international networks and platforms. Gatherings such as the New Economy and Social Innovation (NESI) Global Forum, the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies and Ctrl+Shift in the UK provide a collaborative space to replicate local experiments.

Let’s encourage politicians to champion a just transition to a better future, but let’s not leave it all up to them. To build an economy that is appropriate for life on a finite planet, we need to listen to the young climate strikers and implement their rallying cry.

Sarah McKinley is Director of European Programs at the Democracy Collaborative.

Image: Getty Images