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Wellbeing Economics – what this means in practice for us all

9th July 2020: by Maria Paviour - founder of Cari - connect with me on LinkedIn

Covid19 has raised the volume on a call for a change in the ‘system’ and there seems to be a struggle to understand what that actually means. We want things to be different, but we are stuck in our thinking that pushes right back to doing the same! We are afraid that this may mean losing what we have worked hard to achieve.

Here at Wellbeing with Cari we are changing the system in a small way, to contribute to the wellbeing economy. And we would love to hear from you about your view on this.

"The wellbeing economy is one that delivers human and ecological wellbeing. Humanity should determine economics, not the other way around." Wellbeing Economy Alliance.

GDP vs Wellbeing Measures

Joseph Stiglitz, the ex-chief economist of the World Bank says Gross Domestic Product )GDP* doesn’t measure the things that matter!

And Stuart, from SP Wellbeing Consultancy, recently published an illuminating blog that showed that a wellbeing economy is not actually a new idea. Costa Rica started to improve wellbeing in 1948 and is the number one nation in the Happy Planet index today. GDP measures everything we don’t want and nothing that we do want!

GDP does not tell us how many people feel happy, or how many people have a stable home to live in, or how many people are suffering from illness, or lonely, or poorly educated, how many people suffer from discrimination, daily persecution.

  • We want:
  • Health
  • Happiness
  • Security
  • Social engagement
  • Fulfilment
  • A future
  • Clean air to breathe
  • To stop working at some point and take in life

Wealth may enable you to have some of these, but it doesn’t guarantee the majority of them.

GDP tells us nothing about social justice

Social justice is a fundamental to my thinking around wellbeing economics – because justice is only justice when it’s fair for everyone – if not, it's an injustice – right? I don’t think it is a big leap to see that we don’t have a just world.

There are several steps we can all make to making changes happen, and we can all get involved. How exciting!


The first step is to change our thinking around competition. The idea that a market economy must be competitive is false and based on a philosophy that driven by ‘scarcity’.

This is a method used to control workers by the owners, it is Victorian and out of date. The Thatcher economy used this construct to motivate workers to achieve, however, the result was high levels of stress and disease – because this creates negative affect. The science shows that when we are under pressure we perform poorly (yes, really!)

  • Our current economic model is based on constructs that reduce performance and increase poor health:
  • Competing for jobs – this means low wages can be maintained, and therefore poverty and the necessity for unemployment (because this drives lower wages)
  • Competition between SME providers for the lowest price
  • Corporates and Monopolies driving for profits
  • Public sector focus on cost cutting and ‘value for money’ which is defined as ‘cheap’ simply because there are virtually no funds

No one is unscathed, whether you work for a corporate or the public sector, are a self-employed business owner, small business or unemployed person, the economy is likely to be making you sick.

There is a different way!

Our approach is to use wellbeing principles in our business, in the way that we work with our clients, our users, our associates and our suppliers - and it works like this:

Diversity makes us stronger

As a biologist, I can safely say that there has never been a homogenous system that has survived! Diversity is essential for growth, the more diverse the better; this is not just a ‘nice’ thing, this is good sense. It is also the just thing. Being just is different from justifying your reasons.

Together we are stronger – we collaborate!

There is enough for everyone, so we collaborate, and do not compete with other wellbeing providers. No one has a monopoly on good ideas, so working together makes you stronger. Competing is fun for a while, and then it makes you ill. And does it really drive good value?

When someone says to me ‘ I’m your competitor’ I respond, ‘Is there any way we can work together?’

We work with talented, passionate, intelligent and inspiring self-employed people and SMEs. We like the fact that people want to run their own businesses and want to control their own income, and we want to help them to succeed.

So we provide free training, continue to develop our community of self-supporting individuals and we share with them, working with their strengths. We involve them in the way forward.

Giving makes us stronger - we work co-operatively with our clients – our clients can choose how they work with us, to the point of being able to design the service. We don’t negotiate with our clients, they come to us and ask us to accept their offer.

We aim to give them what they need and they pay what they can afford. And everyone feels satisfied that they have what they want, what they can afford and are happy that it didn’t involve any degree of pressured sales! This is our take on the ‘gift economy’ concept.

Find out more about Cari’s wellbeing consultations and personalised support plans being free for employees within public and private sector organisations (and individuals).

You can’t buy happiness – so we don’t charge for it!

Can we make a living from this? Not just a living – we can thrive!

Championing global happiness is our mission – and we get up every day with one thought in our minds – how are we going to create joy at work for ourselves and for everyone else we come into contact with? And this starts with building positive and healthy relationships with everyone.

No more stress, no more competition, more collaboration, more co-operation and justice for all.


Wellbeing Economy Alliance

We’ve signed the Build Business Back Better Pledge with WEAll (Wellbeing Economy Alliance.) We therefore commit to seek out ways to contribute to an economy that is not only economically viable but also socially and environmentally resilient:

  • Business resilience: We commit to giving as much importance to resilience as we give to efficiency in our business model and value proposition. We commit to building resilient business structures which allow us to respond to a changing environment and to build the capacity to deal with crises effectively. -
  • Human wellbeing: We commit to building balanced stakeholder relationships, to ensure trust and commitment to one another. This is an important basis for building capacity for effective collaboration in times of crisis.
  • Environmental wellbeing: We commit to re-evaluating how our business can make a positive contribution to our current environmental crisis, making our business part of the environmental solution, not the problem. Awareness and engagement: We commit to spreading the word of our commitment to this cause by inviting other business owners and decision makers, as well as our stakeholders, to join the initiative.

Come on, join us! Let’s be disruptive!

More to come soon…

I would love to hear your thoughts and for you to share any experiences or ideas that you have for a wellbeing economy. If you are interested in getting involved, contact me and join the Wellbeing Economy Alliance.

9th July 2020: by Maria Paviour - founder of Cari - connect with me on LinkedIn

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