Policy Article

Recoupling Economic and Social Prosperity

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This Policy Brief is offered to the Saudi T20 process, as a recommendation to the G20 in 2020.

Many of the prominent challenges of the twenty-first century, including the current dissatisfaction of population groups who feel left behind by globalization and technological advance, may be viewed in terms of a “decoupling” of economic prosperity from social prosperity. In this policy brief we present two new indexes of wellbeing – solidarity (S) and agency (A) – to be considered alongside the standard indexes of material gain (G) and environmental sustainability (E). The four indexes – SAGE – form a balanced dashboard for evaluating wellbeing, which is meant to provide an empirical basis for mobilizing action in government, business and civil society to promote a recoupling of economic and social prosperity. This new framework can also be useful to analyze and evaluate the performance of different countries in their response in dealing with the current COVID19 crisis. We suggest that compliance with containment measures, which is vital for combatting a global pandemic, will be high and relatively easy to implement if governments make sure that fundamental human needs are satisfied, in particular if solidarity within and between groups is high and individuals are empowered and ready to help one another.

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