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This is from a newsletter from Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, called Reinventing Scotland. It explores the wellbeing economySign up here to receive it every Tuesday at 7pm. 

Scotland is a nation that is afraid of its own (Jungian) shadow

For me, economics has never been just about measuring financial and trade flows, or growth. It's about how society functions and how that shapes the economic system. It’s a much wider science than most people think and as much a philosophy as a science. As people's understanding of economics grows, so does their interest in the human side of how economies work.

One-size-fits-all economic approaches don't work in Scotland

My approach hasn't always made life easy. I remember a university tutorial where my professor sneered that my ideas were “strangely heterodox for someone so new to the field”. I've worn the term heterodox as a badge of honour ever since. I’m dyslexic, I've always seen the world through a different lens.

At Scottish Enterprise, I told a director that his plan to find 500 fast-growth-potential small companies and help them double in size in five years wouldn't work. In Scotland, it would be easier to help 2000 people form new companies that wanted to stay small and that would be better for the economy.

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He told me: “You don’t make money running small companies, you make money growing and selling companies.”

I replied: “You don't grow an economy by selling off indigenous companies to foreign multinationals and venture capitalists that will relocate them or shut them down.”

He announced he would file my comments under the heading "novel beliefs for an economist to hold".

Thirty years later, I maintain that standard economic thinking just doesn't hack it in a nation so psychologically damaged by generations of cultural and psychological repression.

A half-nation with people living half-lives

One of the key things that’s wrong with Scotland’s economy is our status as a half-nation. Our repressed culture and the consequential poverty (relative to our potential) was caused by generations of Westminster underinvestment and the psychological damage of being second-class citizens in our own land. The cultural and political awakening of achieving independence would address that but it's a chicken-and-egg conundrum.

Soon, we will all be heterodox

Fortunately, the heterodox schools of thought are starting to dominate economic discussion – if not yet economic practice. That is a massive opportunity for a newly independent Scotland. It is a chance to do things differently, to carve a new path for others to follow.

Two key schools of thought are Behavioural Economics and Humanistic Economics.

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Behavioural Economics, which emerged in the 1980s, is based on empirical studies of human behaviour that show that people don't make the rational economic decisions that standard economic models rely on. People are slaves to emotions and psychological influences. I would argue that the economy is more aligned to the mood of a nation than to any isolated economic cycle.

Humanistic Economics holds that people's behaviours are not predominantly motivated by the profit motive and that a kinder, fairer, more truly democratic society is possible. Regular readers will recognise those themes repeating throughout my writing on the Wellbeing Economic Approach – the path Scotland must follow to independence.

It’s not a theory but a framework for a detailed economic strategy, for creating an economy that recognises that quality of life, equality, fairness, happiness and health are all economic outcomes that should be given equal weight to economic growth.

To achieve that, we need to develop a greater sense of ourselves. Our nation's values and social and political beliefs are out of step with the UK Government. Holyrood can only tinker at the edges of real political power, mitigating the damage of Westminster’s economic and social oppression but in some ways protecting the people from the pain that might sting them into action.

A nation afraid of its own (Jungian) shadow

Carl Jung (below) had an interesting theory, based on the observation that the power of the unconscious mind can help people achieve their full potential. People project a false personality to the outside world, while we all have a hidden true self that only we are aware of, which Jung calls our shadow.

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We repress our shadow, as convention suggests we should not get ahead of ourselves – we should know our station in life and avoid the conflict that becoming our true selves may create with those around us who are comfortable in their half-lives and do not wish to be challenged.

How often have you heard someone say: “I could have been…”, “If only I had stuck at it…”, “I wanted to be this but I just sort of fell into that…”? People deny their true self and become lesser beings – often living a life of regret because they were afraid of the potential of their shadow and of the work it might have taken to realise it.

Let Scotland be Scotland

Truly understanding economics requires a deep understanding of how the rich lattice of life and social constructions mix with the psychological health of a people to create the systems that run a nation. That’s why I have called for more culture, art and fun in our independence campaign.

Ironically, the key to independence is to be less conservative, less political and less boring in how we talk about our nation's future. Recognising that Scotland is afraid of its (Jungian) shadow is vital for our nation's psychological growth, its social and economic wellbeing and becoming a self-governing and self-aware nation.

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.