Wellbeing and Economics
On my brief travels across the social media landscape, I normally come across the lighter experiences of life, including cuisine, movies, sport, comedy, travels and adventures. Occasionally, we are also fortunate to discover serendipitous moments that provoke thought, but not typically about wellbeing and the world of economics.
At Friends Resilience, we have spent 30 years researching and developing programs for social-emotional awareness and skills encompassing empathy, mindfulness, relaxation, moral development, overcoming challenges, values and evolving beyond the “-isms”. It takes decades of meticulous hard work to refine the techniques and skills which form the basis of evidence based programs, such as the FRIENDS Programs. We have a vision for universal access that will see us all talking a new and shared language. Today, our vision is very much a work in progress, and we still see limited adoption in our communities.
Conversely, we see kindred spirits in the world of economics with Nobel Prize winning American economist James Heckman. James is known for his research in the economics and success of early childhood education programs, with a special focus on inequality, human development and lifecycle skill formation. You can find an interview on the economic arguments for investing in the health of our children’s learning here “Interview with James Heckman”.
This collision of thoughts on economics and social-emotional wellbeing were triggered from viewing a video from the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos during January 2019. We know James Heckman has been advocating the economics of early childhood health. It was also refreshing to hear the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern (https://www.sdgpyramid.org/nz-pm-jacinda-ardern-happiness-matters/) discuss wellbeing at the WEF. She espoused the platform for a wellbeing budget, where we see politics through a lens of “kindness, empathy and wellbeing”. As we know, in the wake of the Christchurch massacre, Prime Minister Ardern has continued to put the wellbeing of her nation at the forefront.
As we reflect on this, we feel united by common thought yet feel disappointed that our endeavours to make it universal can be frustrating. Despite this, we hold hope that our message for social-emotional wellbeing finds global support beyond the New Zealand Prime Minister. In the meantime we will keep trying … one day at a time and with the view of collaborating with others for a shared cause rather than working independent of each other.