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Overcoming the Myths of Mainstream Economics to Enable a New Wellbeing Economy

School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 2, Ireland
Department of Geography and the Environment, University of Denver, Denver, CO 80208-0710, USA
European Environment Agency, Copenhagen 1050, Denmark
Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University, Canberra ACT 2601, Australia
WEAll-Knowledge and Policy Lead, Wellbeing Economy Alliance, Glasgow G4 0QU, Scotland
Ecodynamics Group, Department of Physical Sciences, Earth and Environment, University of Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
Post-graduation Program in Production Engineering, Paulista University, São Paulo 04026-002, Brazil
State Key Joint Laboratory of Environmental Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria 0028, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4374;
Received: 6 May 2019 / Revised: 7 August 2019 / Accepted: 8 August 2019 / Published: 13 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toward a Sustainable Wellbeing Economy)
Increasingly, empirical evidence refutes many of the theoretical pillars of mainstream economics. These theories have persisted despite the fact that they support unsustainable and undesirable environmental, social, and economic outcomes. Continuing to embrace them puts at risk the possibility of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and overcoming other global challenges. We discuss a selection of paradoxes and delusions surrounding mainstream economic theories related to: (1) efficiency and resource use, (2) wealth and wellbeing, (3) economic growth, and (4) the distribution of wealth within and between rich and poor nations. We describe a wellbeing economy as an alternative for guiding policy development. In 2018, a network of Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo), (supported by, but distinct from, the larger Wellbeing Economy Alliance—WEAll) promoting new forms of governance that diverge from the ones on which the G7 and G20 are based, has been launched and is now a living project. Members of WEGo aim at advancing the three key principles of a wellbeing economy: Live within planetary ecological boundaries, ensure equitable distribution of wealth and opportunity, and efficiently allocate resources (including environmental and social public goods), bringing wellbeing to the heart of policymaking, and in particular economic policymaking. This network has potential to fundamentally re-shape current global leadership still anchored to old economic paradigms that give primacy to economic growth over environmental and social wealth and wellbeing. View Full-Text
Keywords: wellbeing economy; G7/G20; economic paradoxes; Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll); Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo) wellbeing economy; G7/G20; economic paradoxes; Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll); Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo)
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Coscieme, L.; Sutton, P.; Mortensen, L.F.; Kubiszewski, I.; Costanza, R.; Trebeck, K.; Pulselli, F.M.; Giannetti, B.F.; Fioramonti, L. Overcoming the Myths of Mainstream Economics to Enable a New Wellbeing Economy. Sustainability 2019, 11, 4374.

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