Measuring Well-being in Canada

For a few years now, the Canadian Index of Well-being has been measuring what really matters, that is, how Canadians use their time, the importance of leisure, community involvement and vitality, education and environmental sustainability. Through a battery of 74 indicators, they are trying to complement (or, ideally, replace) GDP as a measure of economic welfare. It is an important initiative (there are many more around the world, some more or less promising). It’s a step. A first step. Especially in growth addicted North America. Here is their introductory video. Worth watching

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5 responses to “Measuring Well-being in Canada

  1. Let’s not forget that this index is pretty self-centred. It does not include Canada’s link to the rest of the world, for example withdrawal from the Kyoto agreement…

    • Point taken…the withdrawal of Canada from Kyoto is appalling. But strictly speaking it should not count against the well-being of Canadians…perhaps, in the medium to long term, it will simply count against the whole world’s well-being.

    • Point taken…you are right? But should an index of wellbeing also focus on these things. Perhaps yes, as the wellbeing of Canadians is somehow connected to that of the rest of the planet….

      • I think it is pretty clear the material well-being of people in rich countries are dependent on importation of cheaply produced goods from the South. Or filling up the atmosphere with green house gases. The non-material well-being need not be so directly linked, of course, although feelings like security, trust, meaning of life might be impacted by globalisation or more generally a world economy based on competition, where there will always be winners and losers.

      • Very profound reflection. But material wellbeing need not be the only possible wellbeing. There is more to wellbeing than the material component. And not all material wellbeing is necessarily built on exploitation of the South or of Mother Nature. Growing your own food, enjoying the energy you can produce locally and supporting local forms of exchange are all adding to our ‘material’ wellbeing, without necessarily undermining the rights of others to do the same. It this in that direction that we need to move. Local resilience and wellbeing against global consumption and oppression.

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