Enter the concept of a wellbeing economy.
A wellbeing economy moves beyond just economic growth as a marker of progress. It considers the long-term impact of policy on people’s lives and pursues solutions that have holistic benefits for individuals, communities and society.
A wellbeing economy reorients and reorganises traditional economic and business practices to support a prosperous economy. It moves beyond the tyranny of gross domestic product as a sole measure of progress to account for things that really matter: our physical and mental health, the resilience of our environment, the cohesiveness of our communities, and how fairly economic wealth is distributed in our society.
A wellbeing economy protects our most marginalised, while also protecting the planet’s finite resources. It puts responsibility on decision-makers to meet the needs of present Victorians, without compromising the ability of future generations to continue to thrive.
It flips our current situation of people and planet acting as an input to economic growth, and instead puts our economy in service of what people and planet need.
Victoria wouldn’t be the first to embrace this concept – New Zealand, Wales and Bhutan have reframed the way national priorities are set through a wellbeing approach.
Champions of these initiatives already exist across sectors.
At a recent roundtable, The George Institute for Global Health, VicHealth and the Victorian Council of Social Service drew together experts from the health, community, environmental, youth, First Nations and research sectors to discuss pathways to action and plan for fuller community engagement.
Victoria has a lot to gain with this approach as it recovers from the damage to our economy, health, and society caused by the pandemic and emerges into a landscape where the impacts of climate change cannot be ignored.
Let’s embrace a wellbeing economy to create a new normal where everyone can benefit – today and tomorrow.
Dr Alexandra Jones is a senior research fellow at The George Institute for Global Health.