Wellbeing, choice and sustainability: What should economic policy target in a new era economy?
The causal links between GDP growth and income, and between income and wellbeing and opportunity, have broken down. As a result, policy should now focus directly on the wellbeing and choice of current and future generations. Rather than being directed at maximising GDP, policy should seek the highest level of wellbeing and choice for the current population that is compatible with offering at least the same level of wellbeing and choice to future generations.
Dethroning growth from the central role in policymaking is not the same as arguing for no growth. Increased GDP and income can play an important role in laying the foundations of wellbeing: infrastructure, health and education. It can also help to ensure sustainability through the generation of funds for investment in green technologies. GDP growth would become one of many indicators that might contribute to sustainable worthwhile lives - in the right form, under the right circumstances.
What is needed now is a clear political consensus around wellbeing, choice and sustainability as the primary goals of the economy and society and the creation of a system of governance that promotes them.