Over the past several months, I've been involved with a group examining the notion of well-being economies. Seeking a deeper understanding of the concept, I came across a 2020 article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review by Anna Chrysopoulou that posed a compelling vision for what a well-being economy might look like.
"To solve the social, economic, and environmental challenges we face today, we need to rethink the status quo. Governments and other institutions around the world need to embrace new ways of thinking and actively engage in widespread systems innovation to make real progress toward a healthier, more prosperous world. Yet most continue to frame their work within traditional economic models, without recognizing the damage it is causing to society and the planet. This framing often manifests in downstream measures, such as treating respiratory diseases exacerbated by air pollution, rather than investing in public transportation; rebuilding after floods caused by climate change, rather than divesting from fossil fuel and investing in clean energy; or focusing on health interventions related to poor diet, rather than improving agricultural supply chains and encouraging consumer demand for healthy food. While efforts to mitigate the effects of larger problems are vitally important, they do not attend to their root causes and interconnectedness" (Chrysopoulou, 2020).
"A well-being economy recognizes that people need to restore a harmonious relationship between society and nature, enjoy a fair distribution of resources, and live in healthy and resilient communities, and these elements are beginning to emerge in the individual policies of several countries." (Chrysopoulou, 2020)
Does this describe the future work of Cooperative Extension? Maybe it is what we have been about for years. I'd greatly enjoy hearing your comments below.
You can access the article at:
Chrysopoulou, A. (2020). The Vision of a Well-Being Economy. Stanford Social Innovation Review. https://doi.org/10.48558/9SXJ-C595