The Economics of Individual Wellbeing and the Transformation of Society

Webber, Don J and Page, Dominic ORCID: 0000-0002-7770-5151 (2022) The Economics of Individual Wellbeing and the Transformation of Society. In: Broadening the Scope of Wellbeing Science: Multidisciplinary and Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Human Flourishing and Wellbeing. Palgrave Macmillan Cham, pp. 121-135. ISBN 9783031183294

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The mainstream economics stance focusing on how to allocate government resources to enhance wellbeing and alleviate poor mental health is fundamentally and inherently misguided because it is underpinned by the discipline’s staunch assumptions that the most effective best way to model the economy is to assume that people are autonomous self-interested individuals. This mathematically motivated, peer-driven approach generates clear, simple, and highly respected numerical results which are needed in a world that prioritises evidence-based decision making. Unfortunately for the modellers, our world is not full of autonomous self-interested individuals but socialised other-regarding individuals. The powerful economic discipline’s key modelling assumptions reflect a poor understanding of the networked socio-spatial fabric of society that is central to the social model of ill-health. After delving into the structural limitations of mainstream economics, we call for a seismic shift in thinking in the economics profession so that it more effectively embraces social networks, sociological, and spatial factors. Doing so would enable a more appropriate allocation of resources that could more effectively transform the social system.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Institutional economics; Resource allocation; Societal development; Policy recommendations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology.
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Business, Computing and Social Sciences
Research Priority Areas: Applied Business & Technology
Depositing User: Anna Kerr
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2023 09:42
Last Modified: 13 Nov 2023 12:45

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