More and more, wellbeing public policies are being advocated to mitigate the serious risks we collectively face, from social inequalities to climate change. In Davos this year, Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, made this point very vividly when she announced that her government would present in May the world’s very first “wellbeing budget”—a concept originated by the OECD and the IMF that urges countries to look beyond a strong balance sheet and a strong economy to redefine success. This is a very significant move.
Instead of focusing on GDP growth (which can be a tremendous source of unwellness), the New Zealand government will focus specifically on living standards and human, social and natural capital when it sets targets and tracks progress. At a time when political and business leaders all around the world are grappling with populism and disenchantment, such a wellbeing approach is likely to be emulated elsewhere and probably sooner rather than later.