Most political parties define quality of life in terms of money washing around the economy. The more money there is, the better things are. This assumes that there’s a simple connection between financial wealth and happiness. But is there?
We are all better off than people were a hundred years ago and more. We all own more. However, the gap between the richest and the poorest has grown, so those of us who are poorer feel further from the top than our ancestors would have done. We have far less job security than ever, and the prospects of working and living for our children, are grim. Are we happier than ever with all this money? No.
The Green Party thinks there is more to wealth than money. We don’t think there’s much to be said for having a lot of money if you have to work such long hours that you never see your family or friends. We don’t believe that having money is the same as having a good life. We all need our basic physical needs met, but this money-focused system we have fails to deliver that for a great many people. That anyone in this day and age has to choose between heating and eating is a sad reflection of how badly this obsession with money serves us.
Wealth is quality of life. Health, sufficient resources, a home, happiness, leisure, friendship and family are much more important in terms of our sense of wealth than just a bank balance is. We know that just being able to access quiet green places makes a lot of people happier. We don’t think it makes a lot of sense to destroy our green spaces for the sake of a short term profit.
Mainstream politics has its priorities all wrong. GDP is not some magical force to make the world better, and it is not improving quality of life for most of us. Growth for the sake of growth is the logic of the cancer cell. We need politics that deliver something better, something more inspired. A politics based on quality of life, where the economy exists to serve its people, not the other way round. This is the Green vision.