In praise of “The Economics of Happiness”

In The Economics of Happiness Mark Anielski provides a practical approach to establishing the parameters of true value in organizations. His concepts were instrumental to our company to build a values based governance model that serves the needs of our customers and builds genuine wealth for our employee owners.

Tom RChandos logoedl
Chandos Construction (Edmonton)

In “The Economics of Happiness”, Mark Anielski has visualized an arresting and, importantly, a possible future, in which affluence will be measured in terms of more happiness anRay Andersond less stuff. That is a world to which all of us can aspire and for which we can work, for the sake of our grandchildren’s futures and theirs. Read and lift your expectations; a saner world is possible, and surely most desirable.”

Ray Anderson, former founder and chairman of Interface Inc.

Roy Romanow

Roy Romanow

The Economics of Happiness will spark an important discussion about one of the major challenges of our time: how to achieve a balanced, sustainable way of life, where notions of progress and genuine wealth are understood as being fundamentally interrelated. To help us on this journey, Mark Anielski points to the promise of transformational work, such as the forthcoming Canadian Index of Wellbeing, in raising our understanding about a new perspective for how we conduct our present and future.
Hon. Roy Romanow, P.C., O.C., Q.C. Former Premier of Saskatchewan Chair, Canadian Index of Wellbeing Network Board

Edward Schreyer

Edward R. Schreyer

Reading Mark Anielski’s “The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth” is a real treat. It is not often that one finds economics, philosophy and ethics brought together so closely. Yet, that is the ultimate necessity of the human condition. Without the juxtaposition of economics with ethics there can be ultimately only pervasive encompassing greed, cynicism and finally chaos. His book would always be timely — note the relevant statements by the late Robert Kennedy 40 years ago. What is especially capturing our attention today, however, is that this first decade of the 21st Century has brought us to a sobering realization. That includes the need to accept limits on resource extraction and on annual harvest of renewable resources that are sustainable in a meaningful sense. Policies that permit the externalization/ignoring of environmental consequences in resource extraction and depletion must be now — finally — updated and fundamentally changed. “Beggar the next generation” is no longer acceptable in resource policy. In other words, make room for ethics. That is the message throughout this book.

The Rt. Hon. Edward R. Schreyer P.C., C.C., C.M.M., O.M., C.D.

“Mark Anielski does a wonderful job in laying bare the difference between money and genuine wealth and relating them to our economic growth addiction. It sounds easy but we all need a lot of training in the use of economic concepts if we are going to be able to find a cure for the monetary madness in this world.”

JAK bankOscar Kjellberg, past President & CEO of the JAK Members Bank, Stockholm, Sweden

Mark Anielski is one of those rare Canadians, an economist/civil servant who cut loose from the system and became a true public servant. He did so by following his values. In Vancityso doing he changed his own life, and we are all the beneficiaries. Mark has pushed economics back to its more honorable roots and in so doing has shown us the way, as other prairie folk have done, towards what is truly a new common wealth.

Bob Williams, Former Chair and current Director, Vancity Credit Union Board of Directors

“”An inspirRaffied and readable inquiry into an “oikonomia for the people.” Great questions, with a wealth of perspectives and insightful answers.””

Raffi Cavoukian, C.M., singer, author, ecology advocate, founder of Child Honouring

John Cobb Jr.

John Cobb Jr.

If those who set the goals of society and measure success in reaching them behaved rationally they would long since have ceased to use per capita Gross Domestic Product as the major guide. Fragmentary studies have shown that what this measures has little to do with the proper goals of human society. But until now there has been no full-scale study demonstrating this fact and developing a far more appropriate alternative. With the publication of Mark Anielski’s book the last shred of justification for the exclusive focus on market activity is gone. If this focus is continued, that can only mean that those who profit from our wearing blinders control policy.
John B. Cobb, Jr.,
Theologian and Co-author of For the Common Good.

“I appreciate Mark’s rigorous (and fascinating) exploration of the roots of concepts like economy, accounting, money, and wealth. We would do well to remember our roots! The Economics of Happiness provides a solid foundation and inspiration for the creation and implementation of a system of business that, I believe, will someday dominate the way we think about and act in the world of commerce.”Portfolio 21 Investments

Leslie Christian, Founder, CEO and President, Porfolio 21 Investment, Portland, Oregon

Marilyn Waring

Marilyn Waring

“Mark Anielski’s work joins leading voices critical of the dominant economic paradigm, but it does much more than this. Mark’s own practical strategic journey to develop alternate models with others, that reflect an economics of integrity, is, for me, the most important feature of his work to date. Being a critic is easy enough, and so is dreaming dreams. But designing the practical and modelled path to connect the two in different and meaningful strategic alternatives, is the work of exceptional people, and I rank Mark Anielski as one of these”.

Marilyn Waring Professor: Institute of Public Policy Auckland University of Technology Auckland, New Zealand

Hazel Henderson

Hazel Henderson

“I welcome Mark Anielski’s THE ECONOMICS OF HAPPINESS, an important contribution to the vital and growing debate on how to re-define and measure wealth and progress.”

Hazel Henderson, world renowned futurist, evolutionary economist and author of Paradigms in Progress: Life Beyond Economics, Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy and founder of of Ethical Markets Media


John Perkins

John Perkins

It is essential that we transform our societies from ones that worship greed into ones that are sustainable, compassionate, and peaceful. The Economics of Happiness provides a rationale for beginning this journey immediately and offers a detailed methodology for measuring our progress along the path.”

John Perkins New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and The Secret History of the American Empire

Linda McQuaig

Linda McQuaig

For far too long the economics profession has held sway over our society, and convinced us to worship the god of endless economic growth. In this powerful, insightful book, Mark Anielski exposes how this approach actually stunts our growth and prevents us from achieving a life that is rich in all senses of the word. Breaking ranks with his fellow economists, Anielski shows how we can make the economy serve the interests of society, not the other way around.

Linda McQuaig, Author and Journalist
“Economy” means careful use of resources to get the most out of them. Therefore the term inherently asks the following questions: what resources, and for what good? Without good answers to those questions, “economy” has little or no real meaning. We live in a world where for most people money, as a means, has become a goal in itself. The corporate and national audits pay little or no attention to the fact that we are running out of life sustainThe Natural Steping resources, at the same time as the delivered value to our social system is eroding. At this time we need, more than ever, an economic framework that helps us remember what life is all about: careful use of life sustaining resources to

ensure love and happiness. Why has no one thought about writing such a book before?

Karl-Heinrik Robèrt Founder of The Natural Step Stockholm, Sweden

“The Economics of Happiness helps organizations evolve from satisfying “Show me the money!” demands from shareholders to satisfying “Show me the genuine wealth!”

Bob Willard

Bob Willard

demands from stakeholders. Mark Anielski has provided a timely guidebook for organizations undertaking that challenging journey. This book is a must-read for enlightened business leaders.”

Bob Willard, 34-year career with IBM Canada and author of four books: The Sustainability Advantage (2002), The Next Sustainability Wave (2005), The Sustainability Champion’s Guidebook (2009), and The New Sustainability Advantage (2012)

Gifford Pinchot

Gifford Pinchot III

What is the purpose of our economy and our work if not to support happy lives? The “Economics of Happiness” shows how far we have drifted from that goal and details ways to get back on the path to happiness in our personal lives, in our businesses and in economic policy. Mark Anielski shows how it can be done in cities such as Santa Monica and Leduc, the Province of Alberta and the Inuit of Nunavut. He shows how companies large and small can use genuine wealth indicators from Suncor and REI to the small firms of Emilia-Romagna.

Gifford Pinchot III, Co-founder and President, Bainbridge Graduate Institute, now the Pinchot University in Seattle, Washington.

City of Santa MonicaMark Anielski’s THE ECONOMICS OF HAPPINESS provides an interesting and informative look at money, economics, wealth and what it all means. The lessons in this book provide a timely guide as our society begins the paradigm shift away from crass consumer capitalism toward more sustainable economies and communities where people and the planet matter.”

Dean Kubani, Environmental Programs Manager for the City of Santa Monica

Joey Hundert

Joey Hundert

During a point in time when we are struggling to define “sustainability” and how to reduce the amount of damage we do as a species, Mark has offered a much deeper perspective on the drivers of our behavior. Happiness is the anchor of Mark’s theories, and it seems as though happiness is commensurate with more harmonic ways of living and being, as a species. However, “Genuine” happiness is the focus as opposed to feigned or manufactured happiness, and I really appreciate this aspect of the book. Just as Jeremy Rifkin has expressed in “The European Dream”, the American Dream of a completely isolationist, consumerist, accumulative and lavish existence is rapidly being exposed as a fast path to depression and disconnectedness. This feeling of discontent is probably the most commonly-shared aspect of being an American citizen. Mark ties these themes to environmental sustainability through the examination of community models of sufficiency I had previously lumped the word “sufficiency” in with the taste of medicine and awkward phone calls to distant relatives. However, Mark examines communities that enjoy a markedly higher quality of life through a shared, cooperativistic living framework. Such an examination gives a relative context for how well we think we’re doing as a society. Such “happy” societies also seem to have a much smaller ecological footprint. I feel as though this is a crucial read at this time, as many people begin to search for new ways to plan… on scales ranging from the dinner table to the nation. Mark is a true master at presenting a massive knowledge base in an effective and economic manner.

Joey Hundert, Master Entrepreneur and President and CEO Sustianival

“Mark Anielski is a pioneer of green economics. In 2000, along with the Pembina Institute, he helped create Alberta’s first Genuine Progress Indicator. In this book Mark investigates the heart of what we should be trying to measure in economics-the values that make us truly happy. Only when we measure the real determinants of well-being and happiness will we be able to measure true progress.”

Amy Taylor, former Director of Ecological Fiscal Reform The Pembina Institute

“In these times, even the best of us are falling short in courageously charting new maps – and more importantly avoiding heading out without a map at all!!! These are frontier times… where the old way must give way to a blind courage to give up everything we believed was true and embrace the solace of the unknown. Mark Anielski is a great pioneer of our time. With the brazen courage to solidly command the humility of a true spiritual warrior – the Economics of Happiness is “the emperor has no clothes” rallying cry our world so desperately needs. Buckminster Fuller said, ” One can not change an existing system, one must create a new system that makes the old system obsolete.” The Economics of Happiness is a critical part of the architecture of this new system. It is a must read for anyone serious about living differently with each other and the planet. Quite simply – because LOVE is the only true economics and when we express love it does not get used up, it multiplies.

Anita M. Burke – Sustainability Elder and former Senior Advisor to the Committee of Managing Directors at Shell International