Skip to main content

WS03 - How does a Wellbeing Economy Approach square with Inclusive Development? Creating temporal and political development spaces

Convened by Nicky Pouw, Hebe Verrest and Jennifer van Beek (University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Wellbeing Economics is put forward as a more holistic and humane alternative to neoliberal economics. Wellbeing Economics redefines the fundamental axioms of economic theory by (i) putting human wellbeing and human-nature relationships at the centre instead of economic growth (ii) defining the economy as an instituted process (iii) acknowledging that the economic actor is a social human being (iv) whose agency is entangled over multiple economic domains (v) which makes economic decision making complex. Methodologically, WE proposes an integrated framework for analysing trade-offs between social, economic and ecological values in the economy and designing new economic performance indicators. The question that is centrally debated with research and policy experts in the field of inclusive development, how such an approach squares with the meta-perspective of inclusive development. In other words, (i) what is the scope for a WE to deliver inclusive development outcomes? And, (ii) how to translate a WE approach into concrete policies and actions? (iii) What is needed on the ground in terms of creating temporal and political spaces? In a workshop session with people working on wellbeing economy and/or inclusive development, whilst weaving through examples of an empirical case study in the city of Amsterdam where a WE was put into practice, this session critically explores the above questions. Special attention will be devoted to the issue of ‘temporality and rhythm’ of development, by discussing the temporal space and political space needed for engaging sustainable participation from civil society in interaction with policy and practice.