This is the latest edition of Gordon MacIntyre-Kemps' Reinventing Scotland newsletter, all about the wellbeing economy. To receive it free to your inbox every week, sign up here.

The wellbeing economy revolution is a revolution of the soul.

Believe in Scotland was always going to base our next push for independence on a Wellbeing Economics Approach, even if the Scottish Government didn’t. So when Humza Yousaf based his SNP leadership campaign on wellbeing economics and credited our research in almost every hustings, we took notice.

The creation of the new Cabinet Secretary position for Neil Gray as Minister for Wellbeing Economy signalled that it was more than a campaign promise but there is a mountain of work to be done before we put the indy question to the Scottish people again. 

The National: Europe Minister Neil Gray said it was not possible to compare Scottish independence plans to Brexit

The next step is to formulate a new economic vision for an independent Scotland that is practical, affordable and inspiring, ensuring the people of Scotland choose independence. Wellbeing has to become the lens through which all socio-economic policy is viewed. The problem so far in Scotland is that wellbeing isn’t just about society but equally about business and economy. Nicola Sturgeon’s approach only included one half of the formula for success – Neil Gray’s first priority must be to reset that business relationship.

Believe in Scotland’s Manifesto for Wellbeing

Scotianomics, the research arm of Business for Scotland is leading thinking on wellbeing economics and has developed a Manifesto for Wellbeing. Looking at wellbeing policies around the world, we found no nation currently with a fully developed approach. However, all the policies we studied had shared values, leading us to create a framework of 17 wellbeing economics values. 

We polled 1000 voters living in Scotland and found majority support – mostly more than 75% – for each of the principles we had defined. As you might expect, Labour, Green and SNP voters identified with the wellbeing values, as did LibDems. You might be surprised that our poll found majority support amongst Conservative voters for all the wellbeing principles and even came out top on one of the key values. 

Have a read below and ask yourself if you would like to live in a country with a policy approach based on this set of values. 

17 key values in wellbeing economics 

  • Quality of life, equality, fairness, happiness and health are all economic outcomes that should be given equal weight to economic growth
  • The focus of the economy should be to serve the needs of people and society more than the needs of big business and finance
  • To be able to live with dignity while experiencing wellbeing and security should be a basic human right, not something that comes only with wealth
  • You cannot have a thriving economy without a thriving society and you cannot have a thriving society without a thriving economy
  • Austerity has failed – it is slowing economic growth, harming people and society and making the country more susceptible to economic and health crisis
  • Post-Covid, our economic policies need re-engineered to generate higher levels of equality in health, wealth, wellbeing and access to opportunity
  • If we build society and our economy more successfully after coronavirus, we can create a new economic approach, allowing both our economy and our society to thrive and be more resilient in the face of crises
  • The nature of work is changing, we need to invest more heavily in innovation, encouraging better business practices and preparing for the future of work
  • Education is an investment in our children and young people – it should always be free and open to everyone
  • Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. Greater government investment in creativity and innovation is needed to help them grow and create better quality jobs
  • Government expenditure on welfare and health is higher due to inequalities in the current economic system – a wellbeing approach would reduce those costs
  • Economic success being more equally shared amongst society would result in better growth
  • Greater access to personal development opportunities for all will increase social mobility and benefit the economy in the long-term
  • Ending poverty, inequality and unfairness, while increasing minimum wage and job security will boost the economy
  • People need to feel more secure in their livelihoods. A universal basic income (UBI) for every adult citizen would provide that security and end both in-work and pensioner poverty
  • Decision making should be less centralised, to give people a greater democratic voice in local issues
  • We need to reduce our economy’s carbon outputs and waste, make transport more sustainable and make recycling and repairing far more prominent.

READ MORE: Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp: Trying to debunk independence made me Yes

In a nutshell: 

The Wellbeing Economic Approach is one that recognises quality of life, equality, fairness, environmental sustainability, happiness, and health are all economic outcomes that should be given equal weight to economic growth.

It’s an economic revolution but of the soul.

Consider these 17 wellbeing values and the nutshell statement. Did you feel you were reading a radical economic manifesto, or did you just think: “that all makes sense”? It is radical but it's a radical redesign to bring the economy into line with the values and needs of the people rather than with large corporations and the financial markets. It's about creating a real economy: one we can live with, one the planet can survive.

Don't tell me you are not tempted?

It's obvious that Scotland and the rUK (mainly England) are headed in different directions. Even when Labour (presumably) wins the next General Election, Keir Starmer’s leadership does not prioritise wellbeing. If you want a wellbeing economic approach, you must also want Scottish independence.

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp is the CEO of Business for Scotland, the chief economist at the "wellbeing economics" think tank Scotianomics, the founder of the Believe in Scotland campaign and the author of Scotland the Brief.