#rethinkgrowth2024. #WellbeingEconomy

Year of Decision

Pivotal elections are scheduled to take place in Ireland, in the UK, in the European Union, in the United States and around the world in the course of the next 12 months. This democratic process should enable us to make choices that affect every dimension of our lives. 

One domain, however, remains – for the most part – outside the political debate: that is the purpose and design of our economy and financial system. Few public figures openly question the narrative that powerful, impersonal and unavoidable forces of economics and finance are bearing down on our lives like unforgiving Gods, shaping the fate of entire countries.

And yet the design of our economic and financial systems is a human construct –  and it holds the key to the system change that environmental experts and advocates worldwide of ecological and societal justice are urgently calling for. 

What if?

What if democracy actually extended to real decisions about the purpose of our economies?

What if our economic and financial institutions were re-designed and re-purposed across our island, the European Union and further afield to enhance our wellbeing and underwrite the health of the planet? 

The Wellbeing Economy, promoted by a growing global movement –  including a number of governments across the world –  is an economy designed to serve people and the planet, not the other way around. Rather than treating economic growth as an end in and of itself and pursuing questionable notions of progress, a Wellbeing Economy treats human and planetary needs as the foundation stone of a sustainable and fair society.

Bringing the conversation home

This high level event, organised by the Wellbeing Economy Alliance Ireland Hub, builds on the influential Beyond Growth Conference, a cross-party initiative of 20 Members of the European Parliament which took place in Brussels in May 2023.

We aim to bring together politicians from across the political spectrum in the North and South, policymakers, practitioners, thought leaders and civil society from all around the island to reimagine the concept and role of economic growth, to explore current challenges being faced in both jurisdictions, and to build better foundations for a wellbeing economy for the island of Ireland. Similar conferences are being held in Austria, Denmark, Italy and France in the course of 2024.


Confirmed speakers and panelists (both in-person and remote) will include Minister Paschal Donohoe, Minister Caoimhe Archibald, Dr Báyò Akómoláfé, Professor Michael Cronin,
Dr Linda Doyle (Provost of Trinity College Dublin), Dr Éloi Laurent, Professor Mary Murphy, Dr Tadhg O’Mahony and Dr Julia Steinberger.

We will update this website periodically with more detail on the programme.

Exploring social, ecological and political solutions

A new economy based on a vision of prosperity, no longer addicted to extraction

Shelter and housing for all

An accountable and reformed global and regional financial system, in the service of human and ecological flourishing

A holistic and preventive approach to sustaining physical and mental health and wellbeing

Care for the land, rural livelihoods and food sovereignty

Life-long education in support of a liveable, flourishing planet

The conference will emphasise multi-sectoral, holistic perspectives and approaches

-> Why is a new economic approach needed, and how can it benefit people and planet?

-> What are the major obstacles to bringing about economic system change in Ireland and elsewhere, and how can these be overcome?

->What is the role of cultural leadership and creativity in creating visions of the new economy?

->How can businesses meaningfully contribute to a wellbeing economy?

-> What contribution is Ireland making to sustainable progress on the global level?

In considering factors such as health, education, and social connections as essential components of a thriving economy, prioritising human wellbeing and environmental sustainability, and focusing on social goals, equity, and overall quality of life, the wellbeing economy can align with our shared vision for a more compassionate, just, sustainable, fair and equitable future.”

President Michael D Higgins

About the Organisers

This conference is co-organised by the Wellbeing Economy Ireland Hub together with a team of academics and CSO representatives.
The WEAll Hub is a network of organisations from the North and South of Ireland which is working in partnership with the global Wellbeing Economy Alliance to help achieve an economy designed to serve people and planet.  

Core WEAll Hub members include the ecological economics think tank Feasta, the QUB School of LawCultivate, the European Health Futures Forum and the Playhouse Theatre in Derry.

Conference Organising Committee

Chair:

Caroline Whyte

(Feasta)

Vice-Chair:

Dr Peter Doran

(QUB School of Law)

  • Professor John Barry (QUB School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics)
  • Sarah Browne (TCD Business School)
  • Meaghan Carmody (Third Sector Consultant and Facilitator)
  • Professor Michael Cronin (TCD School of French)
  • Morag Friel (Feasta)
  • Dr Clare Kelly (TCD School of Psychology)
  • Oscar Mooney (Cultivate)
  • Kevin Murphy (The Playhouse Theatre, Derry/Londonderry)
  • Paddy Nelson (Feasta)
  • Seán Ó Conláin (Feasta/European Health Futures Forum)
  • Davie Philip (Cultivate)
  • Dr Martin Sokol (TCD School of Geography)
  • Dr David Somekh (European Health Futures Forum)
  • Mel White (Cultivate)

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Our supporters

Note on online attendance:

We hope to be able to provide live online coverage of the event. If you would like to listen in online, please email info@rethinking-growth.ie and put ‘online participation’ in the subject line of your email. We’ll acknowledge your email and ensure that you’re kept informed as and when online attendance becomes available.

The plenaries at the conference will be recorded and made available afterwards.