Guest blog from WEAll Scotland

The launch of new book ‘The Economics of Arrival: ideas for a grown-up economy’ by Katherine Trebeck and Jeremy Williams this month provided a great opportunity for WEAll Scotland to engage with the public on how to create a wellbeing economy by putting on launch events in collaboration with Oxfam Scotland.

Sold-out audiences in Glasgow and Edinburgh listened to an inspiring talk by the authors on the idea of ‘Arrival’ – the point at which economies can stop focusing on growth and instead focus on how to make ourselves at home in this place of plenty.

The concepts in the book resonated with participants, who were full of questions and ideas. Can Scotland follow in New Zealand’s footsteps and create a wellbeing budget? What can Scottish businesses do right now to contribute to this agenda? From a local councillor, what can councils do to encourage more participation? And, from the youngest participant who was just 9 years old, how can we make sustainable solutions more affordable for everyone?

All these questions and more were discussed in interactive sessions after the talks, with people contributing ideas and solutions for how Scotland can become a ‘grown-up economy’.

As with previous WEAll Scotland events, the diversity of perspectives in the room was very encouraging, with not only politicians, activists and business people taking part but also citizens who are increasingly concerned about the current system and keen to contribute to making change.

As one attendee put it: “I’m just a mum with a normal job, but recently my daughter has helped me realise about inequalities and unfairness and I want to play my part.”

Another, a student at Edinburgh University, said that the event and the connections with people there helped him feel hopeful for the future at a time when it seems like there’s a lot of cause for despair.

‘Arrival’ is the idea that a society collectively has the means for this. Growth has reached a point at which a decent standard of living could, theoretically, be universal – and countries like Scotland could lead the way. This week’s events certainly helped the WEAll Scotland team feel like this is not only possible, but already starting to happen.

The book is available from Policy Press here.

This week, as the World Economic Forum gets underway in Davos, Oxfam has unveiled its latest report on the global inequality crisis. They revealed that just 26 people hold more wealth than  the poorest 3.8 billion people in the world.

These shocking figures have generated a buzz of global conversation around what we can do about the situation – and we’ve been part of it, making the case in the media for a wellbeing economy.

WEAll Knowledge and Policy lead Katherine Trebeck has given interviews and written op eds for a number of media outlets – check out the coverage at the links below:

HuffPost
BBC Radio Scotland 
The Herald
The National
Holyrood Magazine

Blog by Lisa Hough-Stewart

At the first WEAll Scotland event in Edinburgh this week I spoke about the need for a wellbeing economy with a farmer. And with an artist. As well as an investment banker, a civil servant, a teacher, a scientist – and so many more. This event really was for everyone, and one of the many things about it that made me feel hopeful was the rich diversity of views and experiences in the room.

Keynote speaker Jacqueline McGlade (former Chief Scientist of UNEP and currently of University College London and Maasai Mara University) struck a chord with the Scottish audience when she called for a “a juggernaut of change” to bring about a systemic shift. Crucially, this change must be global and inclusive, but she and other speakers highlighted the potential for Scotland to play a leadership role.

The purpose of the day was to launch the concept of a wellbeing economy and WEAll as an alliance that aims to connect, enhance and amplify the work of the existing movement in Scotland. Katherine Trebeck, of the WEAll global Amp team and WEAll Scotland team, delivered an inspiring presentation showcasing some of the amazing “chinks of light” projects and ideas around the world demonstrating that a wellbeing economy already exists. She also emphasized that the event was happening as part of Challenge Poverty Week – and during Climate Challenge and Good Money Weeks, too. All great examples of people recognizing change is needed, across linked agendas that WEAll is working on.

Doreen Grove from WEAll Scotland said in her talk: “We know what people care about – having meaningful lives, having agency. When we talk about changing the system though, everyone needs to be there not just those with power.”

Perhaps not everyone in Scotland was there for the inaugural WEAll Scotland meeting but a meaningful cross-section of Scottish society brought their experience and voices to the room. After hearing the global perspective from Jacqui and Katherine, it was over to the participants to analyse what can be done in Scotland to advance the wellbeing economy agenda.

There were healthy challenges from participants about the value WEAll can add, and no shortage of ideas for action. The WEAll Scotland team has an exciting to-do list as a result of afternoon discussions about prioritization! We heard that support is needed to help accelerate the good work already happening, help people connect and collaborate, and to support those going against the current system, because it is hard tiring work.

As Carol Tannahill (Head of Social Policy for the Scottish Government and director of the Glasgow Centre for Population Health) summarized, hope was an overarching theme for the day, with positive energy and optimism brimming from all discussions. This is, participants agreed, a unique moment for Scotland. Political will, public engagement and capacity to change seem to be intersecting, and together they provide fertile ground for Scotland to act as a leader in the shift to a wellbeing economy.

The event was an important milestone on the route to a wellbeing economy for Scotland – to follow this journey or get involved in Scotland check out www.wellbeingeconomy.org/scotland

 

 

 

 

 

WEAll Policy and Knowledge lead Katherine appears on the latest Politics Galore! podcast, talking wellbeing economies, and a little bit of Scottish politics.