Oxfam Scotland has called for a new prosperity measurement that focuses on equality rather than just economic growth.
It argues that GDP doesn’t work as a measurement, as levels of poverty and inequality have increased at the same time as GDP has grown. They might have added (though they didn’t) that cultural funding has also plummeted over the same period.
The issue sparks debate over whether, as a society, we focus too much on the economy?
The belief that economic growth leads to better standards of living is often stated to be almost universal – but is it? Is it worth speculating that the groups who worship economic growth tend to be groups who have “jobs” rather than “vocations”?
Already I can hear a clambering – and quite rightly so. It may be that actors and directors and nurses and vets (I mean the British meaning of ‘vets’ – not the American one!) and vicars and, well, the obviously “Vocated Ones” do have a lower opinion of economic growth than most people who have jobs separate to a life, but aren’t politicians people with vocations?
So why do we have so much “stuff” from them about money, and so little about quality of life and art and just feeling rather happy. God knows, it’s not like politicians have a record of being good at the money thing. The current economic woes are because they’re just AWFUL at it – along with most of the economists and almost all of the bankers.
A survey of people working in the Third Sector: social enterprises, charities and non-profit making enterprises, undertaken for Third Force News [link to: http://www.thirdforcenews.org.uk/2013/06/is-wellbeing-more-important-than-economic-growth/ currently shows that 72.5% of visitors to the site think wellness is more important.
Is it time that we shifted our focus away from a constant need to increase profits on to general wellbeing: a rich life full of the arts and entertainment and the teaching of empathy and emotional intelligence? I’d be interested to hear your views.