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Bookmark and ShareSaamah Abdallah is a researcher at nef‘s Centre for Well-being.

2010 looks set to be a key year for well-being. Just over ten years ago, whilst well-being made sense in the scientific community, it was still almost unheard of amongst policy-makers. Since then, however, we’ve had policy documents recognising the importance of well-being from many departments from Defra to the Treasury. The end of 2009 saw two other think tanks, Demos and the Young Foundation, using the language of well-being. The Department of Health’s New Horizons strategy boldly puts well-being at the heart of mental health. nef act as secretariat for the all-party parliamentary group on well-being, the UK government is set to fund a major new centre for well-being research, and the Office of National Statistics is starting to explore how they can measure well-being. Meanwhile, whilst the Chinese welcome the year of the tiger, the City of Liverpool has declared 2010 the ‘year of health and wellbeing’.

However, to paraphrase the wise words of Yazz, given the concept’s earlier obscurity, ‘the only way was up’. Ten years on and well-being is no longer seen as a cute side-policy, and is becoming an issue for heated discussion. Some writing in the national media suggest a backlash. Some people read well-being as simply happiness and therefore consider it hedonistic and silly. Or there is a fear that encouraging people to be happy may just be a way to silence the masses without actually improving their lives.  Or there are concerns over whether it can genuinely be measured. Or a feeling that affecting people’s emotions should not be within governments’ remit.

Some of these concerns are easily dismissed. We know that well-being can be measured robustly and meaningfully (see, for example, last year’s National Accounts of Well-Being, and the New Scientist). Also, as the National Accounts of Well-being stress, well-being is not just about happiness or satisfaction. It is a dynamic and multi-dimensional concept embracing, amongst other things, our social relations, vitality, and sense of meaning. Seeing Government’s role as supporting well-being for everyone does not imply a belief that government should keep everyone happy all the time.  Being upset because you have failed a job interview is natural and healthy. It is when this then leads to long-term depression, or when our lives are defined by our job interviews, that we need to worry.

Worthy of more thought is the response that, even if well-being is important, and we can measure it, government should not be meddling with our well-being. This is where the science of well-being needs to mature into a politics of well-being. It would indeed be unsavoury for the government to be making people happy, especially if this is solely through positive psychology tricks that ignore root causes of low well-being, such as inequality and bad jobs. But in the same way that their current focus on economic growth does not lead to governments forcing us to get rich, a focus on well-being would not lead to forced happiness. Rather it would just mean that, in making a policy decision, government would give greatest weight to likely impacts on well-being (in all its multi-dimensionality), rather than just its impacts on GDP – which is what tends to happen. For example, a reduction in working hours is considered crazy as it would lead to reduced economic activity. However, if it were seen to lead to observable improvements in well-being, even despite reducing our national income, isn’t it actually a good idea? To be able to make such decisions, government needs an evidence base on how policies impact well-being. Growing this evidence base is the challenge for 2010, and nef’s forthcoming work will be a key step on this path. Watch this space.

Bookmark and ShareJuliet Michaelson is a researcher at nef‘s centre for well-being.

Writing on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website, Catherine Bennett is unconvinced that “it is the state’s business to meet those psychological needs” that the Young Foundation’s recent research has highlighted. She suggests that “since no nice person would want to set their face against general wellbeing”, using well-being as a political goal is utterly devoid of meaning. This inadvertently raises a crucial question: what is the overall goal of politics?

Economic growth is the most common headline measure of political success. Combating problems such as poor mental health or income inequality, although dismissed by Bennett, might also be candidates. In fact none of these pass muster in the role of ultimate outcome for societies. When examined closely, it becomes clear that they are all different means to the end of well-being: enabling people to experience their lives going well. As the economist Andrew Oswald has noted:

People have no innate interest in the money supply, inflation, growth, inequality, unemployment … Economic things matter only in so far as they make people happier.

Aiming for well-being is not about seeking an “immediate surge in collective pleasure”, as Bennett puts it. It is about a life well lived, not short-term happiness or pleasure seeking. What we do is fundamental to how we feel, and research shows that strong connections to other people and engagement in meaningful activities are among the most important determinants of well-being. This understanding informs our work at nef, where we have demonstrated that well-being outcomes can be robustly and systematically measured through a framework of national accounts of well-being.

There is broad public support for well-being being the ultimate political goal. A 2006 poll for the BBC found that 81% of people supported the idea that the government’s prime objective should be the “greatest happiness” rather than the “greatest wealth”. Furthermore, a sense of well-being is itself a means to traditional policy ends, with proven links, for example, to longer life expectancy and improved health outcomes.

Bennett suggests that it would be “surreal” for policy initiatives to aim to improve well-being. But what is truly surreal is that public policy has often been antithetical to well-being – encouraging long work hours and personal debt, and engendering intense competition from tests at primary school onwards. The evidence shows that our current turbo-charged consumption levels are largely driven by competition for status – a zero-sum activity where for every winner there is a loser.

Focusing on social position through material goods leads to the inescapable treadmill of working longer and harder to buy ever more – at the cost both to well-being and the planet. While some less empathetic members of the public may, as Bennett says, “feel quite happy with current levels of brittleness, inequality and mental ill health”, this is cold comfort to those suffering at the sharp end of these problems. And as evidence from epidemiologists Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson has highlighted, we all suffer under greater levels of inequality, given its associations with crime, low social capital and a host of other undesirable outcomes. There is a clear role here for policy to discourage the excesses of these damaging behaviours.

Fortunately, the evidence from fields such as behavioural economics and positive psychology also points to what enhances experienced well-being. The “five ways to well-being“, distilled by nef from a 2008 government review of the latest scientific evidence in the field, identify well-being-enhancing activities in everyday life. Current policy, directed towards maximising hours spent in paid employment and failing to value non-market activities, hampers people’s ability to get involved in the sorts of community and voluntary activities that offer some of the best opportunities to connect with others, be physically active, take notice of what’s around us, learn new skills, and give. It is not the state’s business to impose such activities on us. But it does have a clear role in establishing the conditions that allow individuals to maximise their own well-being. This is the true yardstick by which political success should be measured.

Bookmark and ShareJuliet Michaelson is a researcher at nef‘s centre for well-being.

Central Lobby, Palace of Westminster (Parliamentary copyright images are reproduced with the permission of Parliament)

Leading members of the three main political parties addressed the second meeting of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Wellbeing Economics yesterday, with a striking degree of consensus that well-being should urgently rise up the political agenda. Labour peer Professor Lord Richard Layard, Oliver Letwin MP, Chair of the Conservative Research Department and Policy Review and Chris Huhne MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, all agreed that GDP fails as an adequate measure of welfare and pointed to the need for a new way of measuring the things that are really important. The comments of all three speakers supported the aims of the Group, for which nef acts as the secretariat, to challenge GDP as the sole indicator of wealth and promote new measures of societal progress.

The speakers agreed that policy-making should be much more focused on what well-being research tell us are the drivers of high well-being, with lots of emphasis given to the importance of supporting good relationships. But there was not unanimity on all points of policy. For example, only Chris Huhne mentioned, as a strong argument in favour of progressive taxation, the varying well-being value of an extra pound of income to people with different levels of economic wealth.

However, there was general consent to the proposition that without a strong headline measure to rival GDP, the well-being agenda would not get the attention it requires. Oliver Letwin perhaps went furthest in this direction. He spoke of the ‘terrible danger’ that the Conservatives would find themselves in government and under pressure to focus only on traditional political issues unless a ‘serious, competing measure’ of well-being could be produced. He pointed to the need for all three parties to act in step to create a ‘political licence to talk about what really matters’. As Chair Jo Swinson MP pointed out, this is exactly what the ongoing work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group will aim to bring about.

Bookmark and ShareAndrew Simms is nef‘s Policy Director and head of nef’s Climate Change programme.

David Cameron

Could the Conservatives be the party to ditch economic growth as a policy and oversee the change our climate needs?

There are only seven more annual political conference seasons to go before the world enters a new, far more dangerous phase of unpredictable global warming, based on the risk categories of climate scientists.

That means we should already be able to see genuine solutions emerging in the debates and speeches echoing around the nation’s conference capitals of Brighton, Bournemouth and Manchester. It also means that whoever is successfully elected to form the next government in 2010, they will almost certainly be in power during the period when the fate of the atmosphere is settled.

Except, perhaps, during wartime, history rarely offers up such a definitive performance indicator for a government. But here, for better or worse, the words, “it happened on your watch” will be carved, probably in coal, on their headstone.

New research from the Hadley Centre, part of the government’s own Met Office, set the scene for the political challenge. It warns that we should now plan for the possibility of a 4C temperature rise by 2060. This is far beyond the maximum 2C rise considered a maximum safe threshold before the environmental dominoes start to fall.

On 25 September, the Friday before the Labour party conference began, the world went into ecological debt for the year, beginning to consume more resources and produce more waste than the planet could handle.

The challenge couldn’t be clearer. Bad accounting, poor risk assessment and profligate behaviour nearly destroyed the global financial system. It threatens to do the same to a climate conducive to civilisation. It’s not reform that the next government must oversee, but paradigm shift.

Yet in the last few weeks, the siren voices for a return to business as usual have been getting louder. We need bonuses back, says the City, although they never really went away, to get and keep the best talent. But that was hardly a good strategy last time, when the “best talent” on bonuses wrought chaos. The Confederation of British Industry says recovery depends on cutting back regulation. But an absence of appropriate regulation is the slippery slope down which the economy and environment slide. Others call for another wave of no-strings bailouts for the fossil fuel-intensive car industry. These voices, effectively, are telling the survivors of a sinking ship to leave their lifeboats and climb back on board.

As the Conservative party takes energy from Labour’s disarray and disheartenment is there any sign that they might do the seemingly unthinkable, and consider radical economic redesign to prevent what happened to the banking system from happening to the climate system?

On one hand, there is a disturbing and furtive creep of old vested interests. Big money, big business, old school connections looking to return to their comfort zone after more than a decade of feeling culturally uncomfortable with a Labour government. Regressive tax, more binge consumerism and dirty and weakly regulated industry are all poised for a potentially easy ride. Yet the Conservatives are also on a journey to distance themselves from their own past. What started as an unavoidable rebranding exercise can take on a life of its own.

David Cameron is on record as saying that well-being is as, if not more, important than growth in an economy. An increasing number of voices from Nobel economists down are pointing out the ultimate incompatibility of endless rich country economic growth with the preservation of a habitable planet. What’s interesting for the Conservatives is that ditching growth as the single, overarching economic policy obsession could well revive ways of living that they find politically appealing.

A world in which there is much less passive consumption of goods and services is a world in which we do many more things for ourselves and each other. It’s a world not of absolute but much greater self-sufficiency, at the national, local and even individual level. In other words, it’s a world in which we have much more control over our own fate. A revival of real local democracy beckons in which we are more responsible locally for our own food, energy and the reciprocal delivery of services. With 86 months to go, that doesn’t sound too bad to a public very jaded about UK politics – it may even sound infinitely preferable.

86 months and counting

Bookmark and ShareJody Aked is a researcher at nef‘s centre for well-being.

We can save money and put a stop to persistent social problems by investing now in a preventative system of public services for children and young people.

We can save money and put a stop to persistent social problems by investing now in a preventative system of public services for children and young people.

Gordon Brown succumbed to mounting pressure from the somewhat unrelenting Tory line on public spending cuts and used the “c-word” in his speech at the TUC conference yesterday. The message was that cuts under a Labour government may be necessary to restore public finances, but they won’t be as bad as under the Conservatives.

Of course, the devil is in the detail and neither party has shed much light on where these cuts will take place. Brown has assured us that “vital” frontline services will be saved from any future belt-tightening, because the cuts will happen in “low priority budgets”. What he didn’t say was how we decide which services are high priority and which are low. In the scramble for votes before the General Election, there’s a risk that all parties will try and score points simply by promising bigger savings and this will narrow the focus of the debate.

Quick fixes will be seen as cheap and attractive. Those services that generate significant social value by way of bringing wider benefits to society but which will not deliver an immediate return to the State may be brushed aside, in favour of those designed to provide a short, but temporary, solutions for our most critical social problems. Already professionals working in children’s services have expressed concern that preventative services – which typically work ‘behind the scenes’ to keep families together, keep children in school, and promote mental and physical health – will be some of the first to go. Yet, the work of these services, particularly in early childhood, has far reaching implications for generations to come, beyond the next term of office starting after the Election.

Consider, for example, nef’s analysis of the social and economic benefits of preventative and early intervention services, released today in Backing the Future: why investing in children is good for us all. Our reseach shows that if we invest upfront to rebalance our system of service delivery towards one that is more preventative than our current model, we can expect to save £486 billion over the next 20 years – even when the transaction costs of making the transition to a new system are taken into account. When compared to conservative estimates which show the UK’s preventable social problems – crime, mental ill health, family breakdown, drug use, and obesity – look set to cost the UK economy £4 trillion over the next 20 years, the case for investment is overwhelming.

And while it may seem like a strange time to be looking to temporarily increase and reconfigure public  spending on children and young people, the evidence indicates we can ill afford not to. At the moment it looks extremely unlikely that the UK will meet its poverty reduction targets, it is languishing at the bottom of international rankings of child well-being and the UK has the lowest rates of trust and belonging among 16-24 year olds in all of Europe. The current system of services has got things the wrong way round. It spends much more on children and young people when problems have become entrenched, when they are often impossible and certainly expensive to remedy. Despite being one of the richest countries in the developed world, our society is one of the most unequal and one of the least child-friendly. By not proactively tackling the root causes of our social problems, we have for too long allowed them to become a drain on public resources: the price tag of the UK’s social problems is a third more expensive than the next most troubled nation in Europe.

Even in a time of immediate crisis, any politician worth their vote needs to keep one eye on the future. Out of the ruins of the recession, we need to harness the opportunity to build a stronger society, with fewer social problems. To achieve this, we need policies that can improve the life chances of today’s most at-risk children and succeed in preventing the same root causes of social problems, including poverty and inequality, from having an adverse effect on the next generation. As the details of spending plans are unveiled, we should not be won over by easy political sells at the expense of funding decisions that will put the UK on a trajectory to a stronger, fairer and happier future.

Backing the FutureBacking the Future: why investing in children is good for us all makes the social and economic case for switching to a preventative model of services for young people and children. This research was carried out by nef in partnership with Action for Children, whose Executive Director Clare Tickell makes the case for change in today’s Society Guardian.

Bookmark and ShareSaamah Abdallah is a researcher at nef‘s Centre for Well-being.

President Sarkosy: an unlikely revolutionary

President Sarkozy: an unlikely revolutionary

Although you wouldn’t have known it from the media coverage at the time, President Sarkozy did something far more remarkable in January 2008 than get engaged to the singer and model Carla Bruni. While angry French leftists were burning Bruni’s CDs on public bonfires, her new fiancé announced his intention to challenge our most intractable economic orthodoxy: Gross Domestic Product.

Soon enough, the President had set up an impressive commission of Nobel Prize-winning economists and social scientists to address the question of how to move beyond GDP as a measure of economic performance and social progress. The group was to be led by former chief economist at the World Bank, Joseph Stiglitz, and would include development guru Amartya Sen, psychologist Daniel Kahneman and the economist-turned-climate-change-hero Lord Stern.

A year and a half on and the Commission has published its final report. The vision is bold – it recognises that “new political narratives are necessary to identify where our societies should go” and advocates “a shift of emphasis from a ‘production-oriented’ measurement system to one focused on the well-being of current and future generations”. Specifically, it recommends that governments should measure subjective well-being – people’s experience of their quality of life – and recognises that these should be textured and multi-dimensional.

These calls are admirable, and echo what nef has long been calling for, particularly in our National Accounts of Well-being report from January 2009.

But there’s a problem. The report carries many recommendations, and there’s a risk that politicians will latch onto the easier ones, without really taking home the big message: namely, that we need to radically shake up our understanding of progress and success. For example, the report shies away from suggesting an overall measure of progress, such as nef’s Happy Planet Index, leading to the risk that GDP will remain unchallenged as the de facto indicator of overall success, despite it never being intended that way.

But for now the Commission, and indeed, dare we say it, Sarkozy, deserve plenty of praise for their boldness.  Let’s see if he and other politicians put into practice the advice they are given by the world’s best economists: to move beyond GDP and measure well-being.

nef‘s Happy Planet Index is featured in this week’s New Scientist magazine as one of many radical ideas for a better world.

Bookmark and ShareJuliet Michaelson is a researcher at nef‘s centre for well-being.

This article first appeared at Policy Innovations.

A sunset in Costa Rica, the nation that topped the Happy Planet Index 2.0. | Image by Alexander Steffler

A sunset in Costa Rica, the nation that topped the Happy Planet Index 2.0. | Image by Alexander Steffler

Governments around the world are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place: We are now nearly two years into what is widely heralded as the worst global economic crisis since the Great Depression, and the ecological crisis of global warming threatens the foundations of human civilization. Should countries stimulate their economies at any cost? How should they prioritize the health of global and local ecosystems? The debates about whether government money should be used to shore up struggling car industries neatly encapsulate these sorts of dilemmas.

Many in government may feel that the best overall path is far from clear. Part of the problem is that they lack tools for making these sorts of policy decisions. The common yardstick since the 1940s has been GDP growth. Gross Domestic Product reflected the wartime concern with increasing economic productivity, and since then it has become synonymous with progress. As the United Kingdom’s Sustainable Development Commission notes, “The state has become caught up in a belief that growth should trump all other policy goals.”

Yet intrinsic to growing GDP is the need to produce more stuff. This is exactly what our planet cannot sustain. More stuff requires more of the Earth’s dwindling fossil energy supplies, with waste products that threaten the climate.

The kernel of the solution to resolving these competing demands lies within the structure of the problem itself. The fact that economic growth can be conceived of in opposition to the health of the planet suggests that neither can claim to be regarded as the true overall measure of success in human society. A much more convincing case is made by the concept of well-being. The experience of well-being is about feeling that your life is going well, something which is universally important to people everywhere. The concept of well-being enables us to define the ultimate aim of human endeavor to be healthy, happy, and meaningful lives.

The Earth’s resources are the fundamental input to this system. A well-regulated economy is just one means to produce well-being—along with others including community, technology, values, and governance. Systems thinking also shows us that using planetary resources so that they can be sustained into the future is vital to ensuring that human well-being can also be maintained in the long term.

The updated Happy Planet Index (HPI), published last month by nef (the new economics foundation), uses this view of society to formulate an indicator of overall progress. Scores on the HPI represent the amount of human well-being a country produces relative to its resource use. It is measured in terms of long and happy lives. The HPI is thus an efficiency index, measuring how much well-being is achieved per unit of environmental impact:

HPI ≈ (Life expectancy x Life satisfaction) / Ecological footprint

Read the rest of this entry »

Bookmark and ShareSaamah Abdallah is a researcher at nef‘s Centre for Well-being.

Palazzo Strozzi

The Palazzo Strozzi in Florence was once home to a Renaissance banking dynasty. But last week it provided a setting for a conversation about how we can re-define progress beyond simply measuring national product.

International meetings of statisticians are hardly the most likely place for one to find passion and drama. Yet, in the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, home to one of the major banking families of the 13th century, Juliet Michaelson and I took part in a debate which could be changing how we measure progress.

When nef started advocating subjective measures of well-being – i.e. asking people how they feel their life is going – as a tool to guide policy, we were entering almost virgin territory. But it seems that the world of government statistics has started to catch up with projects such as our Happy Planet Index. Subjective well-being is part of official statistics in several countries including New Zealand, Canada and even the UK. nef is currently advising Eurostat, the EU’s official statistics body on the feasibility of including well-being indicators in their official sets. And the OECD is the unlikely home of a major Global Project on Measuring the Progress of Societies, championed until now by the organisation’s Chief Statistician, Enrico Giovannini.

It was the OECD that arranged the meeting aimed to encourage chief national statisticians to take subjective well-being measurement seriously. Chief statisticians and presidents from the statistics offices of the USA, Canada, Ireland, Spain and many other countries were present. The meeting was timed to follow on the heels of the ninth annual conference of the International Society for Quality of Life Studies (ISQOLS), ensuring many of the leading academics working on subjective well-being were also present.

The meeting showed that there was still work to be done. Many statisticians recognise that measuring subjective well-being is a central part of informing governments how well they are doing. They also see the benefits that subjective data provide in terms of understanding other areas. For example, well-being data can tell you something about the impacts of high or low social capital in an area. Academics such as Prof. John Heliwell at the University of British Columbia in Canada made a plea for statisticians to include a few subjective well-being questions in as many different surveys as possible. Meanwhile nef, alongside Prof. Felicia Huppert at the University of Cambridge, called for more textured measures of well-being, such as the National Accounts of Well-Being, so as to provide policy makers with a better understanding of the ways in which the nation’s population is doing well or not so well.

Some statisticians, howeever, were still very resistant to the idea of taking up precious ‘real estate’ on their surveys with questions about how people feel. They argue that they measure what they are told to, and that they are not being told to measure well-being. As Dr. Munir Sheikh, Chief Statistician of Statistics Canada put it, “It’s not my job to decide which data is more important. It’s the users.” Other statisticians disagreed, highlighting that statistics offices do have some flexibility to pre-empt data requests. Meanwhile, the academics argued that there is a chicken-and-egg situation: government bodies will not ask for well-being data until statistics offices collect it, and vice versa.

But, perhaps, for the sake of statisticians such as Dr. Sheikh, it is important that we make it clear that well-being is important. A recent UK poll found that 81% of people supported the idea that the Government’s prime objective should be the ‘greatest happiness’ rather than the ‘greatest wealth’. Given that’s the case, and given that statistics offices are public bodies whose duty it is to provide information to citizens on how our Government is faring, perhaps we all need to tell them just how much we’d like to know the state of well-being in our countries.

Bookmark and ShareJuliet Michaelson is a researcher at nef‘s centre for well-being.

gallup-healthways-map2In making the case for the regular collection of national level statistics on population well-being, our National Accounts of Well-being report highlighted the interesting model provided by the Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index. This is a survey which since January 2008 has conducted 1000 interviews almost every day of the year across the United States to produce detailed well-being data on a daily basis. As a privately-sponsored survey, the full dataset is not publicly available, but a new website allows the data collected in 2008 to be explored at state- and congressional district-level .

The approach to conceptualising and measuring well-being is somewhat different to our own: while our National Accounts of Well-being were based on seven key components of personal and social well-being, the Gallup-Healthways Well-being Index is built up of six domains of well-being. There are some similarities, with two of the Gallup-Healthways domains being built on measures of emotional health and evaluations of life as a whole, mirroring our emotional well-being and satisfying life components. But, in part reflecting the healthcare industry sponsorship of the survey, the domains also expand beyond subjective well-being to measure physical health, healthy behaviour, work environment and basic needs and services. It’s a useful point of comparison to our National Accounts of Well-being, and will help frame the debate about exactly which elements of population well-being it is most useful to systematically measure. It also demonstrates the growing recognition, in the private sector as well as in government and policy circles, of the value of rigorously collected population well-being statistics.

Bookmark and ShareJuliet Michaelson is a researcher at nef‘s centre for well-being.

A letter to the Financial Times, 30 January 2009.

Sir, As John Thornhill notes (“A measure remodelled”, January 28), those such as Simon Kuznets who developed the modern measure of gross domestic product were explicit that it should not be used as an indicator of social progress. More than 60 years on, in a classic example of mission creep, GDP remains the de facto measure of national success and is used as the standard against which virtually all macro-level policy decisions are judged. The consequences of this obsession with economic growth are clear: a financial system disconnected from the real economy, unsustainable levels of debt and intolerable strain placed on the planet by our high-consuming lifestyles.

The new economics foundation has long called for governments to establish national accounts of subjective well-being – systematic measures of how people think and feel about their lives. In a report launched last weekend, we provided the first ever detailed proposal for how they could be structured and implemented – see www.nationalaccountsofwellbeing.org

An approach endorsed by, among others, Enrico Giovannini, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s chief statistician, and Prof Daniel Kahneman, the economics Nobel laureate, national well-being accounts provide a direct measure of meaningful outcomes in people’s lives.

By enabling policymakers to understand the real impact of their actions on people’s experience, such accounts would reconnect government with its core purpose: improving the lot of the people it serves. It is a reconnection that must be swiftly expedited. As we enter uncharted territory it is clear that we need a better compass to guide us; National Accounts of Well-being would be a significant step in the right direction.

Juliet Michaelson
Sam Thompson
Centre for Well-being,
nef (new economics foundation),
London SE11, UK


See also: Reuters, ‘On wealth versus well-being’

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nef employees blog in their personal capacity. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of the new economics foundation.