Guest post by Mike Zeidler, Happy City
We’ve been in the happiness game for just over 7 years now; talking to people about what matters to them, delivering practical training, and developing measures that allow us to see beyond GDP growth towards a society that benefits from true prosperity. This week I’m very excited we’re putting our activist foot forward with our new #InvestIn campaign.
One of the things that motivated us to start Happy City was the recognition that the economic system is broken; because it’s failing to deliver the very wellbeing and prosperity the vast majority of people want to see. As our friends at Action for Happiness found in their 2014 YouGov poll, people value happiness and wellbeing far above increasing financial wealth - at 87% and 8% retrospectively.
Economics is a simple idea really - it’s meant to organise production to meet our needs. That’s clearly not happening. Today’s economic system is skewed by an outmoded design which we now know produces things we certainly don’t want or need. It generates debt, waste, pollution, mental and physical ill-health and huge inequalities - all adding up to big failings in society for the vast majority.
You can’t solve a problem with the ideas that created it
Our #InvestIn campaign will shine a light on our needs and ways of meeting them. We’re not telling people what to think, but asking them to share their thinking. Speaking up, taking action, and inspiring others is a big part of the solution to a problem of this scale.
There’s strength in numbers, and while we’re a small team at Happy City, we’re proud to be part of a growing movement which sees wellbeing as the heartbeat of economic value. What’s truly exciting is to see rising waves of citizens who care, growing ideas about how to make the world a better place and pounding away at the defenses of those who fail to see we’re all connected. We can’t wait to see what people have to say on Budget Day this Wednesday 22nd November.
On Budget Day, we hope to help the country talk about investing in real prosperity. We don’t want to be mere observers as those in charge patronise the nation with stale thinking. How we spend public money is not the be all and end all of achieving a happier society, but our elected representatives DO have a responsibility to invest our money in what matters to us, and to make sure the basic conditions are good for everyone to thrive.
And there are some top notch-investments to be made. Rather than talking about the ‘cost’ of education and training, how about recognising and celebrating the great investment this represents? Along with clean energy, green spaces, cooperatives, mental health and the resources for communities to thrive. These are the kind of investments that have a guaranteed return for all of us.
Make your voice heard
This week, we’ll be taking to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to spark a debate about what really matters. We hope you’ll join us. Let’s flood social media with our voices, and start to take back the economic debate.
About the author
Author: Mike Zeidler is co-founder of Happy City - a small team with a big mission. We challenge the idea that the world has to be about endless consumption and GDP growth, because we think people want something better than that. We develop tools to measure alternatives to GDP, and we campaign for a fairer economy.