“Economic Leadership” usually refers to the USA, China, Germany or Japan – vast economies with enormous output, high GDPs, and global reach. What if 21st century economics required something different? What if the leaders of our time were countries like Scotland or New Zealand?

The Gross Domestic Product does not measure what actually matters to people: healthy families and communities, meaningful jobs, social connections, and access to intact natural environments. Worse still, a lot of GDP growth leads to climate change and the on-going devastation of nature, eroding the foundation of human life. As a response, political economists Katherine Trebeck and Lorenzo Fioramonti want to shift governments towards “Wellbeing Economies” that focus on alternative measurements for healthy environments and functioning societies.

In Italy, Lorenzo runs for office in the national election, wins a seat, finally becomes a Minister in the Italian Government. Meanwhile in Glasgow, Katherine carefully weaves an alliance with countries like Scotland and New Zealand and their progressive leaders Nicola Sturgeon and Jacinda Ardern: the Wellbeing Economy Governments.

We are contrasting two approaches to transformation: entering a political system to try and change a country from within — or working from the outside, inspiring countries to collaborate in an international alliance.