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Francesco Temperini

About the author: Francesco Temperini is a 24-year old MSc graduate in Environmental and Development Economics and a member of WEAll Youth, located in Rome, Italy

I joined WEAll Youth because I think that sharing ideas between people moved by the same interests could lead to a new shape of economic thinking: with Multidimensional Wellbeing as a focal point around which all people and institutions converge.

From my academic experience, I developed a passion for and interest in multidimensional analysis of wellbeing, which I applied in an empirical study in the city I live in, Rome.

Often, economic indicators are synonymous with quality of life, and many times the development of a country is taken into account to measure the wellbeing of that country. 

Multi-dimensional analysis speaks to the importance of reshaping the way we measure quality of life and can promote economic thinking centred on how people feel about their lives and how much they are satisfied with it.

Having studied Rome divided in its 15 municipalities and having chosen a representative sample for each municipality, there are lots of inequalities between municipalities for any dimension of wellbeing such as the multidimensional index. This is the aggregation of 9 different dimensions (including: safety, environment, housing, education, satisfactory work, enjoying free time, health, social engagement, travel mobility).

The interesting findings are shown in the image below: in the richest municipalities (highest level of income) there weren’t the highest levels of wellbeing (multidimensional wellbeing indicator). Firstly I was surprised by this result, but then I realised this outcome confirmed my research thesis: profit is merely a tool to reach the state of wellbeing.

The findings can be seen in these two maps: the left one is the level of income maps for municipalities (the darkest colour represents highest values of wellbeing); and the right one is the multidimensional well being map, showing the aggregation of all the nine dimensions I found in my research (the darker colour are higher values of wellbeing).

How can you understand multi-dimensional wellbeing where you are?

For anyone interested in measuring wellbeing in his/her neighbourhood, city, region or country, here is a summary of the measurement process.

First step: take a sample of the population you are interested in to measure the wellbeing. It’s difficult to interview all the population, so it could be good to take a representative sample, divided by age, gender or professional status.

The sampling processes are different, you can choose which one you prefer for example from the this book’s chapter nine. In Rome, used sampling by quota.

Second step:  create qualitative research with your sample using a focus group investigation method (group interview composed of a moderator and 6-8 people). In these groups, it’s important to study the aspects of individuals’ life values (the subjective and objective ones). It is crucial to make a group analysis to understand how people interact in the same dimensions of their wellbeing, as well as to underline the individuals’ different points of view and the minority groups’ ideas.

These steps were necessary in my case study because it’s helpful to see how people that live in the same city interact and express the same concerns but different issues related to living in an urban area, as I found in my research, different municipalities have different levels of wellbeing.

Third step: After all this qualitative research, there is an evaluation with all the outcomes of the focus group. The reader will summarise the same issues on a singular dimension and then measure it with more than one indicator( as an example of a dimension: “safety in Rome” is composed of two indicators, a subjective one and an objective one).

Fourth step: Following this process line, it’s time to create a survey based on the focus group’s outcomes, with the survey you can measure the achievement of any wellbeing dimension of the people interviewed.

Fifth step: Then, the sampling population fills out the questionnaires for your city, region or country.

Sixth step: Finally, when you have collected enough data (survey could be filled out either physically or online) of the sample that you choose as representative, you can analyse and aggregate the answers.

Remember that the wellbeing of an individual is currently a much-debated issue. Over time, an attempt has been made to define and measure it at a national as well as an individual level, and even today, no common solution has been found: it clearly is a definition that encompasses several dimensions within it, as well as the approach of human development.

by: Marco Senatore

Many have said that after COVID-19, the world will have to embrace a totally new path. We will need new instruments to make this happen.

The main reason why our current market economies do not serve human beings is, in a nutshell, the following: the means have become the ends. That is to say, what is supposed to be a means to deliver wellbeing (namely money), becomes the goal in itself.

Consider environmentalism. It is of course extremely important to stress the economic and political cost of inaction against climate change. But focusing almost exclusively on the monetary aspects of acting or not acting on climate change overlooks the inherent value of nature for human wellbeing, even without a monetary value attached to it. 

A new political, social, and economic order must be based on values: what is intrinsically good and worthy to be pursued. The values of dignity, nature, connection, fairness, and participation are key for reorienting the economy and putting people and the planet at the centre of it. 

For this purpose, I propose a Market for (moral, organisational, and cultural) Values.

How could we keep a market economy functioning, while putting values at its centre? 

In a ‘Market for Values’, instead of exchanging money, firms, individuals and local communities would exchange documents through a centralised platform. 

Instead of just reflecting economic worth (like money does), these documents would reflect economic worth in terms of the benefits experienced by their previous owners, categorised by high level values, including social justice, environmentalism, inclusivity, propensity for innovation, and multiculturalism. 

For each given value e.g. social justice, the State would define a list of quantitative indicators to measure progress toward it e.g. equal pay for equal work. ‘Documents’ would then be worth more or less based on how well they scored on these indicators.

Each document would not be exchanged with money, but only with other documents and with goods and services. These documents would be a complementary means of exchange with money.

But, unlike money, which is value-neutral, and which does not foster any reflection on the moral and cultural benefits of transactions, these documents would make economic transactions possible and contribute to progressively building a collective awareness about the importance of some values. 

How would growth in a ‘Market for Values’ take place?

In order to enhance the worth of in a document in terms of the value of environmentalism, for example, indicators to act upon with might include:

  • For local communities: a minimum percentage increase in green areas over a period of time. 
  • For companies: a minimum reduction in CO2 emissions and a given level of investment in negative emissions technologies. 
  • For individuals: to volunteer for green charities. 

After taking actions to enhance the environmental value of the ‘document’, these documents can be sold on the centralised platform for higher value goods and services or other documents.

Reconciling Economics with Ethics

Since the centralised platform would be open and transparent, even after having sold these documents, it is likely that companies for example would continue to practice environmentally responsible practices, to maintain their reputation. 

A Market of Values would foster a culture of prioritising the ends e.g. social justice, before deciding on what the means should be, such as the jobs we create, the cities in which we live, and the skills that we may want to acquire. Existing Wellbeing frameworks, such as the ones adopted in Iceland and Scotland, rely on quantitative indicators for desired policy outcomes or outputs at the national level. By contrast, in a ‘Market for Values’, quantitative indicators would measure inputs, the collective actions of all people. This would also foster a spirit of community, as I have highlighted in my book Exchanging Autonomy. Inner Motivations as Resources for Tackling the Crises of Our Times.

If in the Market, we saw that the worth of documents promoting certain values is growing faster or greater than the worth of ‘money’, we would know that we are making progress toward an economic system that centres wellbeing.

You can read more about the mechanics of a ‘Market for Values’ in several articles on the World Bank’s blog, London School of Economics’ Business Review, openDemocracy, Berlin’s Forum for a New Economy, New School’s Public Seminar and the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute.

What do you think of the idea of a Market for Values? Please share your thoughts!

Marco Senatore works at the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Italy. Marco formulated this proposal for a ‘Market for Values’ in his book, “Exchanging Autonomy. Inner Motivations As Resources for Tackling the Crises of Our Times” (Xlibris, 2014). This article represents only his personal views. You can connect with Marco on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  

Marco Senatore works at the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Italy. Marco formulated this proposal for a ‘Market for Values’ in his book, “Exchanging Autonomy. Inner Motivations As Resources for Tackling the Crises of Our Times” (Xlibris, 2014). This article represents only his personal views. You can connect with Marco on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  

The Faces of the Wellbeing Economy Movement is a series highlighting the many informed voices from different specialisms, sectors, demographics, and geographies in the Wellbeing Economy movement. This series will share diverse insights into why a Wellbeing Economy is a desirable and viable goal and the new ways of addressing societal issues, to show us how to get there. This supports WEAll’s mission to move beyond criticisms of the current economic system, towards purposeful action to build a Wellbeing Economy.