We need an economic system that helps all life thrive

Today’s dominant, colonial economic model is linear, focusing on perpetual material growth. Make, use, dispose. Repeat. It creates waste, degrades nature, ignores justice and fails to ensure equity.

This traditional economic model treats fundamental elements of life, like people and nature, as mere “externalities” with no real value. It’s easy to see why we find ourselves stuck in patterns of overconsumption and waste — why there are islands of plastic in the oceans, why Earth Overshoot Day comes earlier every year, why we need to campaign for social justice, equity and collective opportunity.

This system is not working for people or the planet.

What could a new economic model look like? One that respects — even nurtures — nature and helps enhance the things we truly care about, like health, collective prosperity and well-being?

A well-being economy is purpose-driven and regenerative, with the health, happiness and — you guessed it — well-being of people as top priority.

Transforming our economics is by no means easy. But we’ve known about holistic approaches based on progress and collective well-being since time immemorial. All are based on the real world, rather than flawed assumptions about people and an idea that infinite material growth on a finite planet is possible.

Yannick Beaudoin, Former Director General for Ontario and Northern Canada