Health is Wealth


“Happiness is the new rich. Inner peace is the new success. Health is the new wealth. Kindness is the new cool.” — Anon

The true measure of our wealth is our health – the balance we find in our lives, the harmony with those we love, and our ability to rejoice. In 1948 the World Health Organisation declared that “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being — not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”

So why do we measure the health of our nations strictly in jobs, money and GDP? Especially when the relentless pursuit of profit and the commodification of so many priceless treasures — from our bodies to our oceans — has caused untold damage to so many.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, something “miraculous” happened: governments around the globe chose to prioritise people’s health over more economic growth. And in doing so they sent an important signal to the world: that our lives are worth more than money.

So from now on, how about we measure our nation’s success in terms of health, in the largest sense of individual and social well-being. A healthy nation is one where everyone has equal access to nutritious food, bountiful time, meaningful work. A healthy nation is one with clean air, water, and land. And a healthy nation can look seven generations forward and know its children’s children’s children will be safe and healthy too.


Beautiful questions:

If the nations of the world were to throw out GDP and economic growth as the measures of their success, what metrics would you put in place to measure the physical, social, and mental health of a nation?

What kind of organisations do you believe deserve supporting in the post-crisis recession, and what kind of world do you think they should be tasked with creating?

Artwork by @IrisMaertens

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