MONTHLY BAROMETER – WELLNESS EDITION

Globally, wellbeing public policies are gathering momentum. This is not a fad: For more and more government policy-makers, the pursuit of wellbeing is just as important as economic growth. But why now? The climate emergency, widening geopolitical fault lines, social inequities and rising anger, tech, and anxiety about jobs: All these are forcing policy-makers to recognize and act on wellbeing as an antidote to these prevailing ills.

Interestingly but perhaps not unexpectedly, countries led by women (New Zealand, Norway, Finland, Scotland) lead the charge, but make no mistake: Wellbeing and its underlying “wellness” investment themes are one of tomorrow’s most enduring global megatrends.

This is music to the ears of wellbeing aficionados. Wellbeing is progressively becoming serious policy stuff. Might we be at the onset of a snowballing effect, with countries exponentially favoring wellbeing policies? It’s hard to tell, but the evidence that GDP growth is so far removed from improved wellbeing suggests that governments will increasingly realize that prioritizing economic growth or GDP per capita alone or to the detriment of wellbeing is not only outdated but wrong.

The example that makes this plain is the US. The American economy has much stronger GDP growth and higher GDP per capita than most other highly developed economies, yet its performance in terms of wellbeing is far behind that of its economic peers. Put plainly: Taking into consideration the opioid crisis, death by despair, rising suicide rates and obesity levels, and many other traditional wellbeing indicators, America is a laggard, even if it leads economically.

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