|Party:||Young European Greens (FYEG)|
R05: Sustainable and Just Wellbeing Economies for People and Planet
In the pursuit of constant economic growth and development, we have come to
neglect the wellbeing of not just the people, but of nature, of our planet and
all life and non-life within it. As humanity and nature alike face unprecedented
crises, we need to shift our prioritisations of our economies into one that
works for all: an economy that emphasises human and ecological wellbeing in
measure and pursuit, equalises the Global South through a decolonial economic
order, and puts care at its centre.
1. GDP is not an indicator of wellbeing.
For several decades, growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and an increase in
prosperity have been understood synonymously. GDP is not designed to measure
social and ecological wellbeing, yet it is the most commonly used indicator of a
country's overall prosperity. The currently dominant view in economics still
defines development as an indiscriminate growth of GDP and considers the
environment and the society as a mere ‘externality’ of the system, ignoring its
failure to internalise the tremendous social and ecological costs.
Simon Kuznets, the founder of the GDP indicator in 1934, warned against its use
as a measure of welfare. GDP interprets every expense as positive, and fails to
distinguish welfare-enhancing from welfare-reducing activities. It also
overlooks many components that enhance welfare but do not involve monetary
transactions and therefore fall outside the market.
As Greens, we reject this evident fallacy of increase of GDP with that of
prosperity, and instead propose alternative economic indicators that prioritise
human and ecological wellbeing. Alternative indicators such as the Human
Development Index by the UNDP, the Happy Planet Index, the Genuine Progress
Indicator, the Better Life Index by the OECD, the SAGE index, or the Gross
National Happiness are all more accurate indicators of economic performance
which account for social and environmental factors as well.
2. The current global economic paradigm is fundamentally
The systems of colonialism and imperialism imposed by the West on the Global
South established a system of ecological unequal exchange through the
exploitation of resources and labour. These systems created the conditions for
the expansion of neoliberal capitalist globalisation, which in turn reproduced
said colonial and imperial asymmetries. The socio-political and economic
hegemony of the Global North over the Global South enables continued unbalanced
exploitation of resources, unequal resource flows and international division of
labour, and perverse power relations - exacerbating social, ecological,
economic, and political inequalities and entrenching them structurally.
An economy that works for all cannot be based on these extractive and
exploitative relationships, which especially disproportionately affect
communities of colour and indigenous peoples - those best-equipped to protect
the environment we rely on. Furthermore, continued exploitation of the
environment at our present rate will have severe consequences for the global
ecosystem, social justice, and economic development. We need to rethink the
current international economic order and systems of development aid towards one
that pursues ecological and decolonial justice, reverses such unequal exchange,
and equalises the Global South in the international order.
3. Our current welfare system is failing caregivers.
Capitalist pursuit of growth and purely economic indicators such as GDP conceal
the crucial role of caregivers, especially women who still bear a
disproportionate responsibility for caring duties. By not awarding family,
elderly, community, and environmental care, we exploit caregivers and ignore
their central role to the functioning of economies. Exploitative Global North
and South relations are reproduced in the exploitation of migrant workers for
care work. Welfare systems fail to adequately support caregivers, leading to
financial insecurity, exploitation, and poverty, or single mothers, farmers,
elderly caregivers, and so many more.
1. Prioritising social and ecological wellbeing in measure
We the European Green Party and green parties of Europe commit to:
- Advocate for the adoption of an alternative indicator to GDP, one that
prioritises human and ecological wellbeing.
Our economies must transform from purely growth-focused to regenerative
and distributive by design. Various alternative indicators that include
socioecological measures exist, as provided above, and provide for more
accurate measures of human-nature wellbeing. Shifting the manner of
measuring prosperity to one that centralises wellbeing ensures better
decisions will be made to truly enhance prosperity in the EU and
- Prioritise socioecological policies that focus on wellbeing and
This includes a shorter workweek, universal basic services, renewable
energy, and sustainable agriculture.
- Strive to engage in dialogue with citizens, civil society organisations,
and movements in the drafting and implementation of socioecological policy
Economic policies inherently have a social and environmental dimension,
and thus these dimensions must be engaged with when considering such
policy. We need to remember our grassroots values and work towards
prioritising participation, cooperation and equity in society and
2. Re-designing the international system.
Given the imposition of not just financial but socioecological indebtedness by
the Global North towards the Global South, we the European Green Party and green
parties of Europe commit to:
- Reform the system of development aid towards one of sustainable
development cooperation with the Global South and its peoples.
Such a system would prioritise civil society, striving for community-led
participatory, reflexive development that strives for collective human-
nature wellbeing and addressing root causes of ecological unequal
exchange. It would go beyond financial aid, and include capacity,
technology, and patent sharing. Such development processes should
especially platform the interests of indigenous and local communities.
- Pursue fair, just, equitable, and ecological trade with the Global South
based on equal terms of trade and the protection and empowerment of local
We strongly reiterate and emphasise the ‘Green Transformation of EU Trade
Policy’ policy paper adopted at the 6th Congress in Copenhagen in December
2022. Trade policy must thus guarantee oversight of supply chains and
holds corporations accountable for abuses within it and for its
environmental and social impacts throughout it through corporate
sustainability due diligence; include participatory mechanisms for civil
society and specifically platform the interests of, support the capacity
development of, empower and protect the rights of indigenous and local
communities and their environments; emphasise circularity and trade
subsidiarity to protect local communities and their environments from
overexploitaiton; and overall strives for the reversal of perverse
resource and labour flows and exploitation.
- Reverse the flow of wealth from and indebtedness of the Global South
towards the Global North.
The global financial system has historically indebted the Global South
through unfair lending terms and exploitative market-oriented
conditionality mechanisms. Radical transformation of the global financial
system towards a system of equity based on the needs and adjusted to the
capabilities of the Global South is necessary. This includes debt
cancellations, fair lending terms that prioritise human-nature wellbeing
over economic development and neoliberalisation conditionalities, and
reparations for environmental damage.
3. A new care economy.
We the European Green Party and green parties of Europe commit to:
- Work towards and lobby for a welfare system that supports caregivers and
rewards care workers.
A welfare system that centres care would prioritise the wellbeing of
caregivers and care recipients, as well as recognise the value of care
work in building a healthy, sustainable society. We reiterate the ‘The
Care of Older Persons’ resolution adopted at the 35th Council in Riga in
June 2022 and call to extend this to all forms of caregivers. The goal
should be to make an economy in which gender equity and fair remuneration
of care work are central, prioritising care work and rewarding care and
social workers fairly is an essential step to do so. This includes
policies for caregivers such as a European care strategy, social and
labour protections, equal pay and fair wages, professional and emotional
support, and accessible education and training; and policies for care
recipients such as universal childcare, accessible and quality
professional care, and overall socialisation of care.
 Parrique T., Barth J., Briens F., C. Kerschner, Kraus-Polk A., Kuokkanen A., Spangenberg J.H. (2019). Decoupling debunked: Evidence and arguments against green growth as a sole strategy for sustainability. European Environmental Bureau. https://eeb.org/library/decoupling-debunked/.
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