RJ Eskow: A "Well-Being Budget" – Why Not?

RJ Eskow: A "Well-Being Budget" - Why Not?

New Zealand just released a new budget and that new budget is not concerned with the gross domestic product as most such budgets are all we hear about is how will this affect the GDP how will this affect the economic bottom line but the new budget of progressive Prime Minister Jacinda ardour is concerned with well being in fact Prime Minister Arden calls it the first-ever well-being budget now New Zealand's not the first country to look at its budgeting process in this way the Bhutan some years ago measured what it called gross national happiness or GNH instead of the GDP but this is the latest attempt to come up with a way to quantify government budgets and the national economy on terms that are other than these financial terms that really are the byproducts of a certain economic worldview based on capitalism in the aggregate and economic activity in the aggregate as Jacinda arden says she says in the not in so many words but she says government is there to make its citizens happy and GDP alone quote – and I'm quoting here here does not guarantee improvement to our living standards end quote and quote does not take into account who benefits and who was left out so unlike Bhutan she is thinking more specifically a little more specifically about people's financial well-being but like Bhutan she is not just thinking about the bottom line ah because we've had many years now in this country where for example productivity has gone up wealth has gone up but the benefits have only gone to a very few and the rest of us have been left out now I remember when Bhutan did its gross national happiness index part of me so that's a great idea and part of me said well you know maybe it's a little too you know new AG or whatever but I've talked to a lot of really smart economists who worked on that project of quantifying it they it was they good work and I've talked to a lot of other economists and other experts they say yeah you know what it's not a bad idea we really ought to be thinking along those terms so just to talk a little bit more about New Zealand now Prime Minister Arthur and says that empathy is the trait most needed in political leaders nowadays I would certainly agree with her and she also says quote her government has quote laid the foundation for not just one well-being budget but a different approach for government decision-making all together do you think that's true I kind of think it is I kind of think I have to study New Zealand a little bit more but I do think we need to radically reframe the way we you look at the designing of a budget the goals of a government in general now of course you could bet that just into our durand is getting some flack for this and the center of the center-right National Party one of their politicians said quote New Zealanders won't benefit from a government that is ignoring the slowing economy and focusing instead on branding we're facing a significant economic risks over coming years but this government is focusing on a marketing campaign well okay you're always going to get that kind of quote that this is just marketing this is just salesmanship but you know what gross domestic product as we use it in fact a lot of the economic language that we use nowadays is marketing too so maybe we should be thinking less about who's marketing and who isn't and more about whether what their marketing is or isn't a product we want to buy and in this case the product in question is the very definition of who we want to be as a society

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3 thoughts on “RJ Eskow: A "Well-Being Budget" – Why Not?

  1. I'm Australian. Since we try to take credit for everything great NZ does, do you think we could steal Ardern? We desperately need her.

  2. We the indigenous people Maori are yet to see the fruits of this wellbeing budgets as we have a homogeneous white settler society that discriminatory towards us like American are towards their indigenous population.

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