The Wellbeing Economy vs The Vampire Economy


The Wellbeing Economy vs The Vampire Economy

How much longer can the mantra of neoliberalism remain stubbornly in place? Whilst governments, mainstream media and millions of people still see it as normal, natural, rational and inevitable, millions more are waking up to the fact that it is none of the above. They are recognising that symbiosis requires real benefits for the host if a relationship with a non-productive parasite is to persist – especially if host has conscious agency. Populism is a symptom of the recognition that the sacred contract between people, power and nature is broken. The question is whether a renewed sacred contract can be restored in a Vampire Economy that turns Life into cash, feeding off our lives rather than supporting them.

One of the potent myths of the Vampire Economy is that the purpose of the economy is (private) ‘wealth creation’. But systemic legitimacy requires the creation of shared value and common wealth

It is time to reframe ‘wealth creation’ and ’ownership’ and contrast them with Wellbeing Creation as the purpose of the economy and the Commons as a counter weight to private ownership.

Everyday,millions of people all over the world are involved in Wellbeing Creation through the taken-for-granted care, parenting and voluntary services we provide for each other which create shared life-value. In contrast the Vampire Economy extracts value from people, place and planet through the mechanism of the market, which says when forest is turned into furniture, Money – Value is added but ignores any measure of Life-Value lost. What people are waking up to is that measures of bigger that ignore both better and worse are no compass worth navigating by.

Most people find their fulfilment, meaning and purpose in relationships beyond the market and beyond the state. This is the truly free space of Wellbeing Creation which thrives in the context of Civil Society Values of Respect, Reciprocity and Relatedness. But Civil Society has no market mechanism or state institution to defend and extend it . Yet it is the host that along with nature delivers Shared Life Value.

When we conceive of wealth as Wellbeing – as (shared) life-value – we radically reframe what exists because we integrate values of trust into our exchanges

Shared Life – Value,as a mature frame, recognises that opposing the vampire economy is as much about changing ourselves as projecting a concept of ‘Them’ outside ourselves. It requires us to refrain from acting in ways that we criticise others for by externalising our responsibilities – which is equivalent to corporations externalising their costs. This is the third freedom- the freedom-not-to indulge our entitlement to the fullest degree. Shared Life-Value is about inclusion, diversity and creativity (potency).  A Wellbeing Economy sees Shared Life-Value as a different way to manage resources of human and natural value. It is not only a post-neoliberal economic frame but a cultural frame that is post-liberalist that challenges us not only to take personal responsibility but to integrate systemic legitimacy into institutions, organisations and civil ecologies.

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