The concept of economic well being as priority policy for local and national governments has recently received increased attention. The City of Santa Monica and the countries of New Zealand, France and Bhutan have adopted economic well being as guide posts for governmental policy and budgets rather than more traditional measures such as GDP. Typical goals of economic well being include“new indicators of wealth”which describe all the conditions that need to be present to have effective economic agency. These conditions include poverty, education, life expectancy, income inequality, and carbon footprint.
Changing Times, Changing Models
It is obvious that we are going through a period of secular upheaval and transformation. Our governmental infrastructure is not keeping up with the changes and our societal infrastructure is fraying at the edges. Disruptive change is here. The emergence of technologies such as artificial intelligence and augmented reality, robotics in all economic sectors, and autonomous vehicles are changing the way we live. Such deep seated reshaping of our lives requires structural changes to our traditional economic indicators such as productivity and conversion to measures of well being.
It is obvious that we can’t use old ways of thinking to solve new problems. Unfortunately we as citizens have not participated in the design and engineering decisions currently being made. We need to inject ourselves into the conversations to make sure that the results are human centric, not traditional, habitual, bureaucratic, or blind. We need to overcome our tendency to point out problems but not take actions. By working together through schools, neighborhood organizations and transparent government we can help create a meaningful vision that drives progress toward a practical implementation of economic well being. We can overcome the lower level of fear based values and achieve an enlightened approach to incorporating the changes impacting us all.
Next Generation Imagination Needed
As our daily lives continue to be impacted by the ongoing waves of change and we read articles that propose new life styles and habits, a tremendous opportunity awaits the imagination of the next generation. Many of the societal forces underlying the policy shifts occurring in New Zealand and the other locations are closely related to the principles that energize WiseTribe. With this week’s advent of summer, we are excited to continue and deepen our work with Junior WiseTribers through our Youth Sustainability Summer Camp. We are departing from our core focus of food sustainability to broaden the students’ world view to be holistic, results oriented, and human centered. What advice would you give to your youngsters and their friends to prepare them for a future which is very different from the present?