Since COVID, we talk more about well-being. More than ever, we realize that it does not only depend on the money in our pockets, but even more on the state of the world around us and our way of living in it.
We have learned that the economy depends on the health of people, which itself depends on the environment.
Everything is in everything
Despite this evidence, when it comes to directing public policies and making budgets, our governments rely mainly on GDP growth.
In doing so, everything that is not measured in dollars goes under the radar.
A forest that is not exploited economically does not contribute to the GDP, even if it generates happiness for walkers and improves air quality. On the other hand, if we raze it to sell the wood, we say that it creates wealth, even if it impoverishes us in other ways.
What is more, paradoxically, our problems of physical and mental health generate expenditures which, in turn, contribute to the GDP.
It is therefore not surprising that for years, experts have agreed that it is urgent to use more comprehensive and complex indicators than GDP to make better decisions. There are several in the world, and since this week, also in Quebec.
The G15+, made up of around twenty organizations from the economic, financial, social, labor and environmental sectors, worked with economists and researchers from the academic community to develop the Indicators of Well-Being in Quebec.
Their objective is to help elected officials put quality of life at the heart of the decisions they make for us. Beyond measures related to prosperity, employment, equality and housing, we are interested in physical and mental health, education, GHG emissions, biodiversity, water and more. The tool has 51 economic, social and environmental indicators.
Let's hope that our elected officials take it up! There is an urgent need to redefine our measures of success for the wellbeing of us all. ” alt=”It's not just GDP growth that matters ” />