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The Republic of Wellbeing

09 September 2015

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Professor Robert Costanza is a Chair in Public Policy at Crawford School of Public Policy. His research integrates the study of humans and the rest of nature to address sustainability and well-being. He currently teaches Special Topics in Environmental Management and Development (EMDV8041).

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Holistic and all-encompassing changes are the only way to foster substantive and sustainable development, write Robert Costanza, Ida Kubiszewski and co-authors

Imagine a ‘Republic of Well Being’ where governments genuinely pursue and implement the UN created Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which seek to urgently address climate change, empower women, and reduce global inequality among other aims.

In a piece for The Guardian, Crawford academics Dr Robert Costanza, Dr Ida Kubiszewski and co-authors contemplate the creation of this Republic and also provide suggestions for current governments who wish to transform their own countries into Republics of Wellbeing.

To become a Republic of Wellbeing that puts the ultimate goal of ‘progress’ on human and ecosystem health instead of economic growth, the article recommends that current governments incorporate the SGDs into their constitutions; re-establish holistic and interconnected approaches to problem solving that utilize the skills and experiences of multiple government offices and portfolios; and adopt tangible indicators and measures of social wellbeing.

The piece also argues that would-be members of the Republic of Wellbeing should adopt accounting measures that gauge whether businesses within their borders are adding to a country’s economy via its wellbeing, or conducting business at the expense of society.

The academics also suggest that creating a system of ‘rewards and sanctions’ for businesses, increasing citizen involvement in assessing the impact of businesses and laws, and restructuring the global economy – including international trade and financial markets – to focus on the SDG’s are critical to the success and longevity of the Republic of Wellbeing.

Read the complete article in The Guardian here.

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