In these approaches increasing productivity remains at the heart of development, but more attention is focussed on overall resource productivity, alongside the distribution of wealth and income within and between countries resulting from increased productivity.
If we do move towards a rounder, more sustainable, wellbeing economy, what might be some of its characteristics? They could include:
A strong partnership between the private, public and third sectors to stimulate investment, address externalities and ensure a fairer distribution of opportunities and outcomes
One consequence of the experience of coping with Covid-19 might also be greater global cooperation to tackle other cross border issues such as the climate emergency. The framework for this cooperating already exists in the form of the UN’s Agenda 2030 and associated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
, summarised in the graphic below. These goals, agreed in 2015, already influence policy and practice around the world, for example they underpin Scotland’s National Performance Framework
A key challenge in pursuing the goals is to understand the way in which complex socio-economic systems interact, generating both positive synergies and negative trade-offs. The operation and design of supply chains (or their rounder equivalents) could play an important role in this, bringing together many of the goals. For example:
The use of natural resources and the disposal of waste (SDGs 12, 14, 15)
The skills and conditions of workers throughout the chain (SDGs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 10)
Innovation, production and distribution processes (SDGs 7, 9, 12, 13)
Reuse and recycling of products (SDGs 11, 13, 14, 15)
Trading arrangements (SDGs 16, 17)
Supply chain resilience (SDGs 3, 9)
Developing the economy post Covid is going be extremely challenging in the short term as places struggle to rebuild and recover, however, the interruption caused by the pandemic also offers a longer term opportunity to reimagine and restructure a rounder, more sustainable and inclusive economy, with wellbeing at its core.