Lincoln University Agribusiness and Economics Research Unit (AERU) Professors Paul Dalziel and Caroline Saunders have teamed up with Leeds University philosopher Dr Joe Saunders to take a new approach to wellbeing.
Their book Wellbeing Economics: The Capabilities Approach to Prosperity challenges the traditional policy focus on economic growth and argues we need to focus on wellbeing directly
It presents practical insights on how to do this, drawing on two decades of research by the Lincoln University duo, and recent research by Dr Joe Saunders at Leeds University.
The book observes that traditional economic policies have achieved growth, but also increased serious global problems such as income inequality and climate change. It has not focussed on what matters to people and our wellbeing.
While we have been measuring success in terms of dollars and cents more and more people are struggling. The market economy is creating large numbers of jobs that pay less than the living wage, for example, contributing to high levels of child poverty. The way we are growing is also increasing greenhouse gas emissions and our environment is suffering,” says Professor Dalziel.
The New Zealand Government has announced its intention to promote the wellbeing of people, communities and the environment, with the 2019 budget having a focus on wellbeing.
“It’s a great start that Governments and policy makers are focusing on wellbeing, but how do we put that into practice? In the book we offer practical solutions for how to put wellbeing firmly in the forefront of economic policy through a capabilities approach to prosperity.
"This means investing in the capabilities of persons, families and households, community groups and business enterprises to create the kinds lives we value, and have reason to value.”
New Zealand has a strong tradition in wellbeing economics, going back to women achieving the right to vote 125 years ago, the Social Security Act of 1938 and the Accident Compensation scheme in 1972. The Treasury is currently doing important work on wellbeing through its Living Standards Framework.
Professor Saunders says this new book builds on this New Zealand tradition.
“People and communities are already motivated to improve their own wellbeing and we need to harness that motivation and provide an economic and wellbeing framework that supports it. Both local and central governments have distinct opportunities to do just that, which we explain in the book.”
The eBook version is free and has already had more than more than 4700 downloads. Go to https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-93194-4