Naidoo stressed the urgency of the moment. Globally, we are reaching ‘a tipping point’ with a multi-dimensional crisis that combines financial instability with food insecurity, an ecological emergency, rampant urbanization, growing inequality and pervasive poverty. As philanthropy and development players, we need to turn our attention from the ‘supply side to the demand side’, resourcing and facilitating citizen activism for ‘well-being’ and people’s organizations that can claim rights, press for social justice and reclaim human dignity. Currently, we have ‘an army of philanthropists’ (and development bureaucrats) who see development as a linear, ‘sausage-machine’ process, and who have fallen a bit too much in love with the siren call of philanthro-capitalism.
D’Ercole spoke about OECD efforts to move beyond measurement of only economic indicators of human progress. Innovative tools like the OECD Better Life Index are making it possible to gauge human well-being around issues of identity, connections with others, community, capabilities, culture, gender and non-financial forms of inequality. Such innovations open up possibilities to shift the development paradigm, bringing ‘well-being’ to the center of our work in place of narrow, economistic objectives and measures.
In another session Caroline Anstey, a managing director at the World Bank, fresh from the G20 meeting, said that the old balance of world political and economic power is definitely over, and a new development paradigm beyond the worn out ‘aid system’ is needed. We must recognize that private financial flows that can be tapped for development (like remittances from overseas workers) now exceed the total of official aid disbursements.
Former minister of finance in Egypt Samir Radwan cited the example of the ‘Arab Spring’, which shows that economic growth is not enough – the protestors in Egypt were clearly articulating a vision of ‘well-being’ that consists of ‘dignity, freedom and social justice’. The key triggers for uprisings in the Arab countries have been increasingly inequality, lack of jobs, and the lack of job prospects for young people in particular.