Culture as an objective for, and a means of achieving, a Wellbeing Economy

McCartney, G. , O’Connor, J., Olma, S., Hill OConnor, C. , Harroun, L. and Morel, K. (2023) Culture as an objective for, and a means of achieving, a Wellbeing Economy. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 10, 718. (doi: 10.1057/s41599-023-02240-6)

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The world faces multiple intersecting crises, several of which are existential. The current dominant economic design is at their root cause, leading to increased advocacy for alternative economic approaches, including Wellbeing Economy. However, the role of culture, both as an objective and as a means of achieving a Wellbeing Economy, is largely absent. In this article, we review how culture has been misunderstood as being dependent on the attainment of basic needs rather than an ever-present, vital, but undervalued attribute of all societies. We discuss how neoliberal economics has individualised and commodified culture, valuing it only as an engine of economic growth and tradeable capital, all of which has led to a substantial diminution and fraying of the social fabric which any positive social transformation will rely upon. Finally, we demonstrate why culture is an essential precondition for the creation of momentum for change through the conversations, shared understandings, new narratives, and communal spaces of all forms which cultural flourishing creates. We conclude by arguing that advocates for a Wellbeing Economy, and similar economic models, such as Doughnut Economics and Foundational Economies, should prioritise and embed support for cultural development as a non-commodified social asset if we are to adequately respond to current crises and navigate to a flourishing and habitable future for ourselves and our descendants.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hill OConnor, Dr Clementine and McCartney, Professor Gerard
Authors: McCartney, G., O’Connor, J., Olma, S., Hill OConnor, C., Harroun, L., and Morel, K.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Humanities and Social Sciences Communications
Publisher:Springer Nature
ISSN (Online):2662-9992
Copyright Holders:Copyright: © The Author(s) 2023
First Published:First published in Humanities and Social Sciences Communications 10: 718
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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