Quality of life ignored

GDP and GNP are used as a measure of the well-being of various countries, but GDP was never intended to be used in this manner.

An open letter to mayor and council:

GDP and GNP are used by politicians and economists as a measure of the well-being of various countries, but GDP was never intended to be used in this manner. Somehow though, we use GDP and the generalized concept of “economic activity” as though it was the only way to show some sort of progress.

One fundamental flaw is that, because these measures are averages, enormous disparities can exist.

For example, and this has been happening for decades, the wealthy can continue to accumulate more wealth, while the vast majority of people continue to get poorer.

Yet GDP can continue to grow.

Other models for well-being have existed for decades, and have been used by some regions and nations for extended periods. Yet mainstream media focus on GDP because that is what economists and politicians use.

As an example of what one city does, Jacksonville, Florida, keeps long-term statistics on a whole host of quality of life factors, including public safety, health, education, the natural environment, the social environment, culture and recreation, and, yes, the economy.

Globally, alternative metrics in use include the Genuine Progress Indicator, the Human Development Index, the Happy Planet Index, and many others – all of which go far beyond simple GDP data and economic activity.

In terms of local activity in Salmon Arm, we frequently talk about creating jobs, improving economic activity and the like, yet really have no genuine way of measuring the well-being of the average citizen. I encourage you to think about these other measures, and to think about how Salmon Arm can become a leader in improving the real quality of life for every citizen.

After all, what is the point of encouraging economic activity if the majority of people do not benefit and in fact get even further behind?

Rick Shea


Just Posted

Open house to reveal proposed changes to Balmoral intersection on Trans-Canada Highway

The South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce has already provided input to the ministry

Dancing with Shuswap Stars attracts Rust Valley Restorers

TV show stars join quest to hone some fancy footwork

Salmon Arm residents learn how to protect properties from wildfire

Removing debris from forest floor can help stop fires from spreading

Thunderstorm leaves small fire near Adams Lake in its wake

Wildfire crews in the Kamloops Fire Centre are also fighting a small blaze near Kamloops

Okanagan-Shuswap Weather: Heat, sun and a chance of thunderstorms for Father’s Day

Morning pancake breakfasts and fishing derbies across the region will see sun, showers may follow.

‘This is unbelievable:’ Raptors dazzled by massive crowds at downtown Toronto parade

Mayor John Tory declares it ‘We The North Day’ after team’s historic NBA title win

Top classic car show cruises back into the South Okanagan

Peach City Beach Cruise runs June 21 to 23 in Penticton

North Okanagan adds wildfire protection

“The important message we would like to get out is that there are actions that people can take to make their homes less susceptible to the threat of wildfires”

Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Dangerous driving in Keremeos and Vernon nets jail time

Gary Patrick Richard will serve 73 days in jail for dangerous driving and other offences

Oil and gas sector cautious as deadline on Trans Mountain decision nears

Trudeau government expected to announce whether it will approve pipeline for second time on Tuesday

Skipping school costs a dozen B.C. students chance at a new car

Cowichan’s Jared Lammi showed up and won $5,000 cheque toward vehicle, but he can’t drive

Portion of Okanagan highway closed due to vehicle incident

Accident happened on Highway 6 a few kilometres east of the Village of Lumby; detour in effect

More student housing for UBC Okangan

B.C. government to build $25-million, on-campus building to address high demand, low vacancy rate

Most Read