Can we build love into economics?

Can we build love in economics?

This article was original published in Singapore’s Salt & Light based on the interview with  Karen Tan // March 15, 2018

Can we build love into economics?

Love your neighbour
We have often heard that love is the foundation of many things.

For Mark Anielski, economist, author and consultant, love should even be the bedrock of economics and business.

When Mark Anielski speaks about economics, one tends to sit up. After all, his best-selling book, The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth (2007), has helped to shape economic thought in Canada, the US, Europe, French Polynesia and China. Between 2003 and 2006, Mark served as a senior economic advisor to China, helping to develop China’s xiaokang (well-being) indicator and performance measurement system for China’s municipalities.

Love, of course, is more commonly associated with matters of the heart than economics.

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An Economy of Well-being: Mark Anielski speaks to Alberta Greening Government Series

Economist and author Mark Anielski is interviewed by Ted Ritzer, host of the Alberta Greening Government Speakers Series about his second forthcoming book An Economy of Well-being: Common Sense Tools for Building Genuine Wealth and Happiness (April 2018). Mark outlines his vision for a new economic system that ties monetary policy directly to the assets of a province or nation and makes the pursuit of well-being the highest aspiration for economies. This new economic model is particularly applicable for First Nations communities throughout Canada.

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Alberta and UN Sustainable Development Goal #1: End Poverty

Alberta Poverty SDG #1

In this series of articles I will attempt to present a portrait of Alberta’s performance with respect to the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The first UN SDG is to eliminate Poverty. On an international level the UN’s goal is to: By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day.’ Of course there are presumably no Albertans earning $1.25 a day or less!

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Alberta’s Progress Towards UN Sustainable Development Goal #2 (End Hunger)

In this series of articles I will present a portrait of Alberta’s performance with respect to the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The UN SDG #2 is to achieve zero hunger. On an international level the UN’s goal is to: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Alberta is not a province which experiences hunger or malnutrition as some developing countries.

One of the sub-goals relevant to Alberta that By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations, including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round.

According to provincial food security statistics, an estimated 11.5% of Albertans (the lowest rate in Canada) experience have inadequate or insecure access to food because of financial constraints, the lowest in Canada.

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Habitat for Humanity: Building Equity, Well-being and Interest-free Mortgage Living

Jimmy Carter and RosalynJuly 9, 2017 (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

I’m a big fan of Habitat for Humanity.

In my view, they are the only genuine affordable housing program which provides the benefit of zero-interest mortgage, mortgage payments that never exceed 25% of a low-income household’s income and builds hope and improves well-being of those families most in need. The Habitat model is remarkable as it combines the benefits of 500 hours of sweat-equity of the low-income families, volunteer labor, building materials, financial donations donations, and government affordable housing grant money into a interest-free home equity mortgage for the households most in need because of their low-income conditions (i.e. poverty). No interest is charged on the mortgage saving a low-income household thousands of dollars over time and making more disposable income available to them. The economic benefit to these families is that effectively enjoy the equivalent of a living wage thus solving one the key poverty issues: the lack of sufficient disposable income to live a good life. Habitat has figured out a way to architect a mortgage, cover its operating costs and forgo a profit providing not only low-income households but all of society with a measurable economic well-being benefit.

This week (July 9-14, 2017) former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter are here in Edmonton to help build 75 new homes in Edmonton, Fort Saskatchewan and Fort McMurray for low-income families in the space of one-short week. This is part of the Carter Build project that will see 150 new affordable homes built in Alberta and Winnipeg in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary. Continue reading

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