Author: Simon Duffy
Money is only one way of achieving things and it can only achieve some things. What people really need in order to live good lives is Real Wealth: resilience, strengths, relationships, community and control.
The Real Wealth model was developed by Pippa Murray, with support from Simon Duffy and Nic Crosby. It offers a framework for thinking about the capabilities which are needed to build a fairer society and the real factors that underpin the quality of people’s lives. It reflects the approach to social justice which is found in the writings of Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum and it rejects simplistic left-right models of social justice that only focus on money. This approach to personal change is also found in the writings of thinkers from the disability community such as Judith Snow.
The Concept of Real Wealth
Money does help strengthen our capacity for control, but we must develop a broader picture of how support effects each aspect of our Real Wealth.
The model has 5 key elements:
Individuals and families can only thrive if they are connected to, valued by and have a sense of belonging within their local communities. The ability to bond and connect with others starts at the basic level of a loving relationship between parents and their child.
In order to make connections and develop relationships, children and families need to be able to feel they belong in their communities. They need to be able to access community activities and buildings; they need information that is welcoming and inclusive. Agencies have to understand the different aspects to access, for example physical, sensory, social and psychological, in order to appreciate the need for flexibility created by individual access needs. And it is not just about access to buildings, but more importantly access to relationships, opportunities and a wide human experience.
In order to make the most of our lives we need opportunities to develop our natural strengths, interests and talents. As we support connections and develop greater opportunities for taking part, we will help people who have not had the opportunity to get to know disabled children realise how much these children have to offer. Our culture places such an emphasis on the value of ‘doing’ that we often lose sight of the benefits we bring to each other through our very existence
The publisher is the Centre for Welfare Reform.
Real Wealth © Pippa Murray and Simon Duffy 2010.
All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.