Albertans and Edmontonians could be happier: Alberta needs a New Economic Vision based on Well-being

This article was originally published on April 26, 2015

It’s no fun being an Albertan: Alberta needs a New Economic Vision based on Well-being

According to Statistics Canada, Alberta ranks 7th overall in life satisfaction in 2013 with PEI and Saskatchewan ranking No. 1 and No. 2. Edmonton ranked 30th and Calgary 23rd amongst 33 Canadian cities in terms of life satisfaction, in the most recent survey of Canadians happiness. Continue reading

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Well-being impact investing: the dawn of a new era

February 21, 2015 by Mark Anielski

Published on

Impact investing the dawn of a new era | Troy Media

Well-being investment image

According to January 27, 2015 column in the New York Times by columnist David Brooks a new era is dawning in the investment world, which has been termed ‘impact investing.’ According to Brooks “Impact investors seek out companies that are intentionally designed both to make a profit and provide a measurable and accountable social good. Impact funds are frequently willing to accept lower financial returns for the sake of doing good — say a 7 percent annual return compared with an 11 percent return.”

I believe there are an increasing number of investors, like myself, who are interested in investing their after-tax dollars in investments that will generate a reasonable financial return while also contributing to a net positive impact on the well-being on the community in which a business operates and on the environment.

I might call this new form of investment, ‘Well-being Impact Investing.’ This form of investment would require new tools for measuring what I call the Well-being ROI (return on investment).

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Alberta continues to have a revenue problem

Mark Anielski April 2, 2015, Published on April 3, 2015 as “Jim Prentice missed a golden opportunity with this year’s budget”

I had the pleasure of meeting the new Premier Jim Prentice at the November 2014 Premier’s dinner in Red Deer. As he spoke about his passion and vision for Alberta, I sensed that he may become the next Peter Lougheed of Alberta.

I was hoping that Prentice’s kitchen-table cabinet would have the vision of making the most of Alberta’s incredible natural assets. Alberta’s oilsands reserves of roughly 168 billion barrels are worth $8.2 trillion based on a conservative US$50 per barrel of oil. At current rates of production of 2.1 million barrels per day, Alberta’s oilsands will provide 215 years of production benefit.

This week’s budget was disappointing because Prentice missed an important opportunity to open a new chapter in Alberta’s economic future by being as bold as Peter Lougheed was in the 1970s when he brought in a oil and gas royalty regime that collected a fair share of industry revenues while at the same time saving 30% of more of those revenues in Alberta’s Heritage Savings Fund.

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Let’s Measure What Matters to Well-being: Interview with John McKnight and Peter Block (Abundant Communities)

On December 2, 2014 I had the pleasure of joining my mentors Peter Block and John McKnight (co-authors of the book The Abundant Community) in an interview to discuss the practical steps in building flourishing neighbourhoods and cities of well-being.


You can listen to the interview at:

In 1968 Robert Kennedy critiqued the Gross National Product (GNP) as a flawed measure of progress; he noted that the GNP measures everything (in money terms) “except that which makes worth while.” Our work is motivated by Kennedy’s challenge: to develop a new system for “measuring what matters”  in terms of our well-being and happiness.

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Is the world on the verge of another financial crisis?

Is the world on the verge of another financial crisis?:
debt time bomb What Britain’s most famous bank whistleblower can teach us.


December 4, 2014

In October I journeyed to London to visit with my new friend Paul Moore, the so-called ‘HBOS Whistleblower.’ In 2004, Paul a corporate lawyer and former risk manager at the UK bank HBOS (Halifax Bank of Scotland), the largest mortgage bank in the UK at the time. Paul came to public attention as a whistleblower in the banking crisis of late 2008 as a result of having been dismissed from his position as head of the bank’s financial risk management in 2004 after warning his employers that they were taking excessive risks. This was at a time before the banking crisis of 2008 when Lehman Brothers collapsed and the US stock market plunged 777 points on September 30, 2008.

Paul ultimately demonstrated that the risks to HBOS and the entire financial system of England were, indeed, real. As he admitted to me ‘I was just doing my job to protect the bank against systemic risk!’ Paul blew his ‘risk alert’ whistle for he saw that HBOS was in danger of collapse and was ultimately forced into a merger with RBS (Royal Bank of Scotland) in 2008, which in turn was ultimately bailed out by a multi-billion-pound infusion of capital from the UK Treasury.

Both HBOS and the UK financial sector ignored Paul’s risk warnings in 2004 and in 2008.

I asked Paul: Do you believe anything has changed in terms of financial risk since the HBOS and Lehman Brothers crisis of 2008? He answered unequivocally: No!

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