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On June 30 2020, WEall hosted its first meme generating workshop. In small groups, the participants used an online meme generating platform, iloveimg to create humorous images about our current economic system.

These memes are intended to capture a key piece of narrative development that is vital to disseminating messages around a new economy. WEAll’s theory of change is shown in the image below. It couples narrative and knowledge to create a powerbase that then grows the new economic system.

 

 

 

Memes have the ability to tell stories in small digestible bites that can be easily understood by a diverse audience. Online, they are used widely to bring humor to current events.

In the same way that meme’s tell stories or poke fun at current events, these memes can be used to highlight the inadequacies of our current economic systems.

WEAll prioritises this kind of storytelling, as it helps to simplify the complex nature of our work.

We are exploring hosting another y ‘meme generating’ workshop to generate a ‘Wellbeing Economy meme bank’ to share with our member network. Stay tuned!

Below are a few examples of our favorite memes that came out of the workshop today:

Lisa Hough-Stewart of the WEAll Amp team and WEAll Scotland team recently attended a community engagement event with Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, organised by Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS).

This was a great opportunity for the Governor to hear how economic policies and realities are being felt by the most vulnerable people and communities in Glasgow, and for attendees to learn more about the purpose and work of the Bank of England. Lisa was pleasantly surprised to hear from Carney that the objective of the Bank is to “promote the good of the people” as well as his recognition that we are in times of serious change. It is encouraging that he is undertaking this series of community and citizen engagement events, which demonstrates a real willingness to understand the lived experiences of British people.

Lisa took part in a spirited table discussion with fellow charity/non-profit representatives, which covered basic income, lack of dignity in the welfare system, the lack of hope in our current system for people living in poverty, and the trend towards insecure work that fails to offer meaning and purpose.

Outgoing Chief Executive of GCVS Helen Macneil made powerful closing remarks touching on the need for economic system change:

“The UK has become stuck in trying to meet the needs of its people because we are using 19th  and 20th century thinking, systems, concepts in responding to 21st century issues. We’re not facing up to  21st century conditions – changing demography and its impact on people and communities; lack of social mobility; changes in the labour market; increasing social isolation; the impact of social media; and the wider digital revolution …and climate change.

We’re never going to address these effectively if we stay as we are – in silos and comfort zones. Our decision making is slow when it needs to be fast; our systems are clunky when they need to be flexible; our public institutions are risk averse and uncertain when they need to be solutions focused, confident and assured.”

Watch the summary video of the event below, including a clip of Lisa talking about WEAll, and read more here.

Last week, an enthusiastic crowd in London attended the sold-out event to promote ‘The Economics of Arrival: Ideas for a grown-up economy’ by Katherine Trebeck and Jeremy Williams.

Hosted by WEAll members CUSP (the Centre for Understanding Sustainable Prosperity) and GEC (Green Economy Coalition), the event attracted academics, civil society professionals, activists, journalists and more, all keen to understand more about the need for economic system change and to engage in the debate about how we get there.

Katherine Trebeck and Jeremy Williams inspired the audience with an overview of the book’s themes and concepts. Williams explained that the concept of ‘Arrival’ is “not a promise but the possibility of having enough.” The authors argue that for many countries, there are now diminishing returns to  growth and that they ought now to focus on ‘making themselves at home’ by prioritising human and environmental wellbeing.

Trebeck made the case that our global economic system is manifestly failing to deliver – on poverty, wellbeing, health, environment, and equality. “People feel their lives are out of control. The system isn’t working,” she said.

Sharing examples such as Japan and Costa Rica to demonstrate the potential of alternative economic approaches, and ending with a positive message that economic system change is possible, the speakers certainly got the room talking with this introduction to their work.

Questions and ideas came thick and fast from those in the room who were keen to delve further into the concept of Arrival.

A panel discussion featuring Professor Tim Jackson of CUSP and Irene Gujit of Oxfam GB, as well as Trebeck and Williams, gave an opportunity for more exploration, as the room considered the different applications of the book’s concepts in the global south as well as tangible ways to build a wellbeing economy in the UK.

‘The Economics of Arrival: Ideas for a grown up economy’ is available from Policy Press here.

Watch a short video summarising the ideas in the book:

Images: Ben Martin

New Economy and Social Innovation Forum: WEAll Youth participation

Last week was the NESI (New Economy and Social Innovation) Forum in Malaga, and we met a lot of interesting people. In these three days we travelled to the year 2030. The big questions were: what does our economy look like in 2030 and what did we do in 2019 to get there?

NESI is held every 2 years in Malaga. The Wellbeing Economy Alliance is one of the partners of the Forum. The programme of the Forum was as follows: each day started with a plenary opening, there were conversations, speeches, and interviews on stage, and there were 3 working sessions, 1 on the first day and 2 on the second day.

For the working sessions, you could choose between 6 different tracks: the future of food sovereignty, the future of urban and housing, the future of finance, the future of work, the future of sustainable textiles and the future of resources and energy. Within each working session, different questions would be tackled: What is happening right now (2019)? Which are positive aspects and which do we want to keep and grow? What will it look like in 2030? What do we need to do to get there? These questions were answered in every track. You could choose to go to the same track every day or you could switch it up.

In between the working sessions and the plenary session, there was time to network, walk around and take a look at the different booths. At this time we were often at the WEAll booth, talking to people about WEAll and WEAll Youth.

One of the highlights of NESI was the WEAll gathering. After NESI was done, we spent Friday afternoon with everyone from WEAll. We had a WEAll members meeting like any other, with the exception that it was in real life, instead of through zoom. It was amazing to see all of the people you normally see on zoom, in real life. The meeting was about updates from every aspect of WEAll. We also got some time to talk about WEAll Youth, which was a great opportunity to tell members from around the world about the things we are doing and planning to do in the future. Besides the WEAll gathering, we also attended the WEAll dinner which was also a very nice way to connect with everyone at WEAll. At these gatherings, we made crucial connections with people from the WEAll community and got so much support and praise that it was overwhelming! We are very grateful to have gotten the opportunity to meet all these amazing people and were uplifted by their work and their kind words towards WEAll Youth.

 

Tracks – our take

Pien: Personally, I was mostly interested in the sustainable textiles track. This is because fashion has a big influence on my life and it has a much bigger influence on our earth! Next to it being one of the biggest polluting industries, it is a big player in human slavery. We are caught in some sort of cycle where supply and demand are getting out of control.

The first session was started with a question that made us think about the things that are going well right now, the components that are essential to maintain. Such as, the employment the industry offers, the alliances that are built, the demand for sustainable products, the demand for transparency in the supply chain, the demand for high-quality textile, skills (sewing and repairing) and creativity and innovation. After this, we talked about things that had to change fast like, the volume that is produced, lack of quality, the value consumers put on clothing, working conditions, animal welfare, extreme consumerism and negative externalities which are not integrated into the price.

How will we enable this change? By raising awareness, regulations, technology, influencers and the power of social media, innovations, developments in new textiles, transparency, education, design to recycle and slow fashion. To make this change a success there are still some question to be ask, like, who is responsible? Are consumers willing to change? Are the brands willing to change? Who is going to pay? How do we prioritize? How to ensure equal access? And when is the deadline? These questions are left with us as food for thought…

Esther:  I went to the future of Work, the future of Urban & Housing and the future of Finance tracks. The future of work was very interesting to me. There were a lot of people and every single one of them could contribute valuable information and/or viewpoints. We talked about equality and diversity in the workplace. Shattering the glass ceiling, but also making sure the application process is fair, equal and without any discrimination by age, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, disability, nationality or religion. This was just one of the topics we tackled, we also talked about good qualities of our work and the system as it is now and project or organizations that are already doing great things in this field. One of the things I learned was how important government policies are when fighting this. Things like women quotas or being able to apply anonymously make a huge difference in progress between cities, districts or countries. There were a lot of international people there and it was very interesting to hear the different situations in different countries and even regions.

I learned a lot in the finance track, at first I was doubting to go to this track because I felt like I did not have much to add to the conversation because I find finance to be very complicated. I talked to some people about what track I wanted to go to and someone said to me: “If you are interested, just go, don’t be afraid to do something you think you can’t.” And so I went, I am happy I did. I did not have a lot of things to add to the conversation but it was very interesting to listen to the discussions. The group I was in was also very encouraging and wanted everyone to contribute to the conversation. I confessed my struggle with finance and we started talking about the complication of the current system. Someone said: “They make it complicated and confusing because they do not want people to interfere in their businesses.” This resonated with me and inspired me to try not step away from seemingly complicated subjects in the future. At the end of the session, I had learned so many new things and spoke to many interesting people. I am very glad I decided to go to the finance track.

At the Urban & Housing track we talked a lot about different projects and organisations who are doing projects that are already working in ways that are innovative and belong in our future of urban and housing. We also created questions for the organisations in the urban and housing sector in the future. “Are we working with equality in mind? ”& “Are we putting people over profit?” There were a lot of professionals in this sector at my table so I enjoyed listening to them talk about all of the projects that are going on. Even though I did not contribute much to the conversation and felt a bit odd in between so many experienced professionals, it was nice to listen to them talk about their work field.

Mara: I chose to go to the tracks on the future of food, the future of work and the future of resources and energy. This was very challenging as two of them were mainly in Spanish and translated for the handful of people that did not speak Spanish well enough to engage in the discussion naturally. However, it was very interesting to talk about how our food systems are now, what we would like to keep and what needs to change in the future to transform it into a system that encourages wellbeing. The things that came out of the session were more local production, transparency and clear labelling should be a part of a future food system. For work, it was interesting to talk about what would the perfect future for work look like and what are the important aspects to include. The future of work in the eyes of the participants, me included should put the people in the centre and get away from being profit driven with a more distributed power structure. The last session I took part in was about how do we get to the aspired future of resources and energy. The energy transition equals a value transition, the participants came up with a model where local communities rise up and own their energy together. Through this mechanism, big companies loose power and are more inclined to be a part of the energy transition to local and renewable resources.

NESI gave different viewpoints and solutions for the future. We talked about some of the most important topics for our future, which seems very scary but, in the end, it gave us a lot of hope and inspired us to keep working to create a wellbeing economy. Overall, the NESI forum helped us realize we are not alone in this fight. What we’re doing is right and we need to fight for what is right. Meeting so many great people and all of the interesting conversations and discussions were uplifting and exhilarating.

 

 

 

Written by Esther Snijder, Mara Tippmann & Pien Gerards

On Tuesday 26 March, WEAll Scotland teamed up with Rethinking Economics to co-host an event in Edinburgh discussing economics education and how Scotland can champion a more pluralist approach to economics.

Rethinking Economics is a WEAll member, and comprises an international network of students, academics and professionals building a better economics in society and the classroom.

The event was full of students, civil society professionals, academics and interested members of the public keen to discuss economics curriculum reform.

The panel was chaired by Ross Cathcart from Rethinking Economics, and included:

  • Gary Gillespie, Chief Economic Adviser, Scottish Government
  • Professor Robert McMaster, Professor of Political Economy, University of Glasgow
  • Lovisa Reiche, Rethinking Economics and APEG Member; Economics Student at University of Aberdeen
  • Dr. Katherine Trebeck, Research Director, Wellbeing Economy Alliance

Gary Gillespie kicked off by explaining his background as an academic economist who joined government to try to apply his economics skills to real world issues, particularly health issues in Scotland. Gary was clear that the central objective of the Scottish Government economics directorate is to improve economic and other outcomes for the people of Scotland. He said: “as an academic economist, I used to use policy to show how good the models were, not the other way around!” In later remarks, he stressed the importance of being responsive to the issues of the day, and of the need for economics and other graduates working in the public sector to be motivated by real world concerns.

Katherine Trebeck was clear that economics is at its best when it is pluralist and not “constrained by narrow bandwidths”. She re-imagined the famous Ronald Reagan quote (“the only limits to growth are the limits to our imagination”), saying that our imaginations are presently limited by fixation on growth but can go further. However, it’s not just a question of growth or no growth, but of opening minds – which the university system is particularly well placed to do. She also raised the question of elitism in economics, calling for people from a more diverse range of backgrounds to engage in the topic both as a degree subject and a career.

Robert McMaster explored the interplay between ethics and economics – which, he says, not enough economists are interested in doing. As a Professor who has taught economics at university level for a number of years, he believes that issues start on day one when students are required to focus straight away on “economic scarcity vs. unlimited wants”. He implored the audience to consider that economics, as currently taught, “tacitly condones those who wish to shape our wants”, and ignores power structures beyond market power.

Fourth year Economics undergraduate student Lovisa Reiche had the last word. In her view, economics should be about creating a system that works for as many people as possible. She said: “Economics isn’t all bad: but there are clear problems in the way it is being taught”. For Lovisa, some of the teaching has felt “artificial” and far removed from recognisable human behaviour and values. Frustrated with what she perceives to be the stripping away of relevance from the subject and profession, Lovisa and her fellow students at Aberdeen University have been campaigning for changes – from simple shifts in focus to curriculum overhaul.

The panel coalesced around the notion of the political coming back into economics – though none of them advocate losing the technical rigour of the subject. As Gary summarised, however, “what’s the point of economics if it’s not about addressing the big challenges we’re facing?”

Spirited questions from the audience continued the conversation, and it was clear that nobody wanted the discussion to end! It doesn’t have to: keep up with the work of Rethinking Economics and support the campaign for economics curriculum reform.

You can also find out more about the Scottish Government’s approach to wellbeing economics and the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership here.

Blog by Stewart Wallis, WEAll Chair

 

 

Seven years after first speaking at a Global Alliance on Banking and Values (GABV) summit in Vancouver, it was wonderful to be back doing the same again.

GABV is a member of WEAll and in turn WEAll is a partner of GABV, working together to pursue economic system change and transform the financial system within that.

Hosted by GABV member bank Vancity, this year’s summit was a huge and dynamic gathering with between 400-500 participants. The theme spoke to the multiple challenges of our era: “Migrants, #MeToo, and Melting Icecaps…Redefining Banking for a Radically Different Future.”

It was a privilege to share the stage with wonderful keynote speakers:

Sheila Watt-Cloutier: Author and Activist, Canada from Inuit Nation who spoke so movingly about climate change. “If you protect the Arctic, you save the plan

et,” she said. “What happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic. Everything is connected through our common atmosphere, not to mention our common spirit and our common humanity.”

Tima Kurdi: Author of “The Boy on the Beach” and aunt of Alan Kurdi, whose tragic image shocked and moved the world in 2015. Tima evoked the most powerful expression of our common humanity and our common responsibility I have ever heard. The whole room was in tears following her speech.

Musimbi Kanyoro: CEO of the Global Fund for Women. She issued a clarion call for more power for women and girls worldwide combined with practical next steps.

John Fullerton: President of Capital Institute (a WEAll member organisation and we’re working together closely on hubs.) John gave the public address on the first evening and brilliantly laid the ground for my panel the next day. He stressed clearly the need for system change rather than incremental reform

In my panel I focused on the need for the economic system to be based in human and ecological wellbeing. I started by saying that yesterday humanity exploded 250,000 Hiroshima size level atomic bombs in our oceans…not literally, of course. However, the latest research shows the heat being released in the oceans is equivalent to 3-6 atomic bombs per second.

I then talked about income inequality, highlighting that last year the richest 28 people on the planet had the same wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion and the wealth of the billionaires went up last year, while the wealth of the poorest went down.

When we consider how these crises are interacting, we shouldn’t be surprised that our politics is going the way that it is. Fundamentally, the economic system we’ve got is broken, it’s dangerous and it’s violent. We’ve got to call it as it is and urge those with imagination to create a different economic system: one that’s got well-being of both the planet and humans and that puts regeneration at its heart.

The economic system had been changed twice in the 20th century and with collaboration, determination and imagination we could do so again. A new movement may never have an elite power base and billions of dollars in funds behind it, but it can have millions of hearts and hands. What WEAll is trying to achieve is bold, vital and entirely possible.

After the panel, I led a breakout group on changing the system through partnership. The interest in system change can be judged by the fact that about a quarter of the participants joined this group when they had 12 groups to choose from! A key proposal from this group to the GABV CEOs was that GABV banks could lead in their communities/cities/regions in bringing together other actors to form system change hubs. This is an exciting idea for WEAll and we will be exploring this further with GABV.

As always, some of the joys of such an event are the contacts and discussions outside the conference hall. I had discussions with some of the GABV member banks about specific collaboration, initiated conversations with four potential WEAll member organisations, identified potential participants for the Finance Cluster and agreed a set of detailed collaborative actions with Sandrine Dixson-Decleve , Co President of The Club of Rome (another WEAll member). Perhaps most energising of all were discussions with the Young Leaders Delegation at the Summit. They want to form a Youth hub in Vancouver so I can’t wait to put them in touch with WEAll Youth.

Finally, it was so refreshing to be with a group of bankers who want to change the world!

 

In conjunction with the Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee, and Scotland’s Futures Forum, WEAll Scotland held a seminar on the idea of Scotland as a wellbeing economy.

The seminar was chaired by Gordon Lindhurst MSP, convener of the Committee, and featured a presentation from Dr Katherine Trebeck, Policy and Knowledge Lead for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland, on the concept of and reasons for a wellbeing economy, and the work of WEAll Scotland.

Listen to this podcast to hear what happened at the seminar.

 

Other members of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland also participated, with Peter Kelly from the Poverty Alliance and Andrew Cave from Baillie Gifford providing perspectives on why their organisations are involved.

Read more here.

 

Photo credit: Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

 

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

The organisers shared this letter with all who attended:

Greetings from the president of Chile 

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

Open Letter to the governments of the G20 nations

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

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

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

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

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