Universiteit Leiden

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Towards the Wellbeing Economy

Thursday 12 December 2019
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden
Klein Auditorium

Economic growth, as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP), has been the most important metric in society for a long time. A growing economy is, too often, considered synonymous with the success of a country. For decades, scientists have been warning for “GDP-fetishism”- an unhealthy focus on growth – because it detracts from the real goals of society such as wellbeing, sustainability and equity. 

In the past 50 years many alternative indicators have been proposed that go “Beyond-GDP” and these metrics are increasingly being used in policy. New-Zealand has replaced its traditional budget process with a “Wellbeing budget”. Wales has appointed a “Commissioner for Future Generations” that ensures that Welsh policies are future-proof. Many of these governments and the OECD are sharing experiences in the Wellbeing Economy - Governments Initiative (WEGo).

In the Netherlands there are also steps towards a wellbeing economy. In 2015 a Parliamentary Commission on Broad Measures of Welfare requested that Statistics Netherlands produce an annual “Monitor Brede Welvaart”. This report provides an overview of wellbeing, sustainability and inequality which is used by Parliament once a year to evaluate government performance (“verantwoordingsdag”). This year the budget statement (“miljoenennota”) started with the sentence “This government’s goal is to increase welfare, in the broad sense, because “the good life” requires more than economic growth and increasing purchasing power.” The word “brede welvaart” (broad welfare) was subsequently mentioned 39 times. All these developments, in the Netherlands and abroad, are very positive but there is still much work to be done.

During the symposium on December 12th 2019 we would like to explore together with policy makers, scientists and business representatives what steps need to be taken to arrive at a wellbeing economy. What should be done at the global level? What can we learn from other countries? How do you entrench wellbeing and sustainability in policy processes? What role could businesses and investors play? These and many other questions will be answered by four speakers whom have been invited to present their vision on how to get to a wellbeing economy. During the last part of the symposium a panel discussion will be held to draw conclusions and recommendations. 

Please find a full programme of the day here:   Symposium December 12, 2019

Registration is required

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