Professor Henrietta L. Moore and Dr Nikolay Mintchev
What is Prosperity? That is the question posed by Professor Moore and Dr Mintchev in the latest IGP working paper. It is not about just uncovering what prosperity means for people, but to challenge the structural features of the economy and the values upon which they are built. A redesigned prosperity opens doors to innovative ideas and new practices allowing us to tackle inequality in novel ways. To interrogate how systems change and how knowledge is shared they begin with three points of reference: the value of the economic in our lives, the purpose of sharing knowledge and the means of operationalising change.
The authors argue that prosperity is about the relationship between individual lives – their quality, aspiration and purpose – and the larger systems and constraints within which they are embedded. Can we live rich and fulfilling lives within the constraints of our planetary resources? The pursuit of constantly augmented growth is not sustainable in the context of limited planetary resources, nor does it provide us with appropriate pathways for addressing today’s pressing challenges. But even the current crisis has had little impact on such realisations for policy formulation – case in point being the UK Government’s latest ‘plan for growth’ to ‘build back better.’ This will do little to address the lack of prosperity of individuals and communities with regions and nations.
A redefinition of prosperity is less concerned with aggregate economic wealth and growth, and more attentive to the things that people care about and need – secure and good quality livelihoods, good public services, a clean and healthy environment, planetary and ecosystem health, a political system that allows everyone to be heard, and the ability to have rich social and cultural lives.
The IGP’s work on redefining and building pathways to prosperity is part of this broader ecology of initiatives, but its value lies in four innovative approaches: the first involves working with local communities to understand what prosperity means for them in the context of lives lived; the second entails situating these local understandings within the structural features of the economy, infrastructure, public services provision, and systemic social and political inequalities; the third consists in developing pathways to sustainable prosperity based on novel understandings of how complex systems change; the fourth situates the mechanisms for change within new forms of collaboration and governance.
Image credit: Brad Switzer on Unsplash
Using GDP alone to determine prosperity is inadequate and misleading, leading policy makers to draw faulty conclusions about levels of prosperity and appropriate interventions. But this new index is based on the theory that by sharing knowledge and trying radical new approaches, more innovative policy options that are targeted to specific local communities and effective at improving quality of life will open up...Read More
Recent research shows that Lebanon could witness an increase of 1.2 to 3.2 degrees in temperatures in areas that are already very arid and suffer from water shortage. An increase in temperature and a decrease in precipitation will have particular impact on the electricity sector - a higher cooling demand in summer and increased consumption for electricity. Rising sea levels and water scarcity in Lebanon could lead to internal climate migration and mass displacement from rural to coastal regions affecting agricultural output, jobs and livelihoods. The economic situation in the cities that are already prone to poverty, illiteracy and unemployment could become worse.Read More