Individuals, Communities, Policymakers
Placing wellbeing rather than GDP at the centre of economic policy challenges the assumption that wealth in itself creates human happiness. An approach to economics, which focuses on wellbeing, asserts that we are happiest when we are close to our family, connected to a community and are being paid decent wages to do meaningful work. Good economic policy should allow our communities to thrive and increase social equity and justice. A strong economy should create work conditions, which encourage a healthy work/life balance and support family life.
Focusing on wellbeing will also challenge the idea that certain costs can be externalised. Environmental destruction, community destruction, a reduction in secure jobs and an increase in low-wage work must all be taken into account when determining whether to pursue a certain economic policy. When the bottom line is no longer the deciding factor in how we run the economy, our environment will be better protected. Any exploitation of natural resources must increase the wellbeing of those in the local community and wider society, and not just increase the profits of a few.
The New Economics Foundation, London, UK