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The Wellbeing Reflex: Facing Covid with a 21st century compass

Published on July 04, 2022

About this paper

As the world’s attention slowly shifts away from the Covid-19 pandemic and the deep trauma and crises it produced, we are left to wonder what lessons we have learnt. Why were so many countries unable to safeguard the health and wellbeing of their people? And, even more importantly, what can we learn from the societies that were able to effectively navigate and minimise the negative effects of the pandemic?

This paper examines how New Zealand, Finland and Bhutan were able to successfully contain the initial waves of Covid (2020-2021) by taking a Wellbeing Economy approach. In each of these case studies, we present evidence that a commitment to wellbeing (over economic growth) resulted in favourable outcomes for both public health and economic performance. Understanding how these countries compare with others that adopted counterproductive responses in an effort to protect their economies will help design future public policies to foster human wellbeing in our century of ecological crises (WEAll, 2021; Laurent et al. 2022).

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