Ahead of World Well-Being Week (June 21-30), an international alliance of organizations and individuals challenging the core purpose of the contemporary economy will soon include a hub for Canada and sovereign Indigenous nations.
“The current economic system was borne out of the Second World War, and it served its purpose at the time, which essentially was to prevent another war,” said Yannick Beaudoin, innovation and Ontario director with the David Suzuki Foundation and lead facilitator with the Well-Being Economies Alliance for Canada and Sovereign Indigenous Nations (WEAll Can). “But our lives now are about more than preventing war. Instead of just focusing on material growth forever, we need an economy whose purpose is to deliver on all aspects of well-being.”
The Wellbeing Economy Alliance has been working in select countries to help enable a reimagining and redesign of economic systems to put the well-being of people and planet first. Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand are just a few places that are reenvisioning their economic purpose and designing policies and metrics that deliver more meaningful value to people’s lives.
“It’s not about being anti-growth, anti-business, anti-anything. It’s about being pro well-being,” Beaudoin said. “That’s a big difference. And it’s going to make a big difference to all our lives, and to the future of the planet, if we can get it right.”
WEAll Can will work to co-create an economic model and supportive systems that nurture well-being for people and planet. It emerges from an acknowledgement of pre-settler economies, where Indigenous Peoples prioritized well-being among each other and with nature for millennia. WEAll Can will also begin to track for the first time Canada’s progress toward a well-being economy.
“White economics informed by a reductionist western world view have dominated the scene for too long,” Beaudoin said. “We need to go back to the table, to sit with Indigenous knowledge keepers, change actors from underrepresented communities, women and youth. We need to rethink, together, what we want our economy to deliver and how we know that we’re getting there. It’s already being started in other countries. It’s about time we started here too.”