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In the existing market-economy an imbalance occurs as our resources of land, people, capital and money itself all become commodities to be exchanged. As no new wealth is generated, only a speculative value exists. Our new economy functions to be life affirming at every level, where market value is established in such a way that prices of commodities reflect true social and environmental costs and benefits. At present, the dominant measuring indicator we have of the well-being of economy is Gross Domestic Product (GDP,) but is it really a measure of our well-being? In this session, Vanessa Timmer, John Helliwell and Elizabeth Ü will explore alternative definitions of value that could serve as a basis to organize our new economy.
John F. Helliwell is Arthur J.E. Child Foundation Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and co-director (with George Akerlof) of CIFAR’s program on “Social Interactions, Identity and Well-Being”. He is also Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of British Columbia, a member of the National Statistics Council, and a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He was previously visiting special advisor at the Bank of Canada in 2003-04, visiting research fellow of Merton College, Oxford, in 2003, of St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, in 2001, and Mackenzie King Visiting Professor of Canadian Studies at Harvard in 1991-94. His books include How Much Do National Borders Matter? (Brookings Institution, 1998), The Contribution of Human and Social Capital to Sustained Economic Growth and Well-Being (OECD and HRDC, 2001), and Globalization and Well-Being (UBC Press, 2002, also as Mondialisation et bien-être, Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2005). Recent articles include “Well-Being, Social Capital and Public Policy: What’s New?” (Economic Journal, March 2006), “Well-Being and Social Capital: Does Suicide Pose a Puzzle?” (Social Indicators Research, 2007), “How’s Your Government? International Evidence Linking Good Government and Well-Being.” (joint with Haifang Huang, British Journal of Political Science 2007) and “The Social Context of Well-Being” (joint with Robert Putnam) in Huppert, Bayliss and Keverne, eds. The Science of Well-Being (Oxford University Press, 2005). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Officer of the Order of Canada.
See First World Happiness Report Launched at the United Nations for more info.
Vanessa Timmer is co-founder and Director of the One Earth Initiative. With her sister Dagmar, she co-hosts the Canadian television show, The Sustainable Region. Vanessa sits on the Board of Judith Marcuse Projects, a not-for-profit that promotes art practice as a transformative tool, creating positive social change. From 2006-2008, Vanessa was Project Manager (External Relations) at Metro Vancouver (formerly Greater Vancouver Regional District – GVRD) as part of the Sustainable Region Initiative which brings together private sector, municipal governments, civil society and other partners to stimulate ideas and action around sustainability. Vanessa holds a Ph.D. in Resource Management and Environmental Studies from the University of British Columbia. Her dissertation focused on organizational structure and strategy of Friends of the Earth International and Greenpeace, and on their ability to adapt to change. This interdisciplinary research draws on literature from social movement theory, international relations, political science, systems theory, organizational behavior and sustainability science.
Elizabeth Ü, Founder & Executive Director of Finance for Food, is passionate about connecting sustainable food- and ag-based businesses with capital. She is currently authoring Raising Dough: The Complete Guide to Financing a Socially Responsible Food Business, a book designed to help entrepreneurs navigate the complex and ever-evolving world of financing options, from traditional debt and venture capital, to community-supported models, non-voting preferred stock, private-label CDs, crowdfunding . . . and the list goes on! During the three years she served on the staff of RSF Social Finance, Elizabeth authored a report on sustainable agriculture investing for the Rockefeller Impact Investing Network (now the Global Impact Investing Network) and served as lead product development manager for the design and launch of the organization’s newest loan fund, the RSF PRI Fund in Food & Agriculture. This innovative fund allows foundations to leverage their philanthropic dollars through Program-Related Investing (PRI), even if they lack the in-house expertise to find and evaluate eligible projects, or the systems to service and monitor loans over time.
Herb Barbolet has been active in community development for more than 30 years – Working in community planning, energy conservation, citizen participation, cooperative housing, and food and agriculture. He now works in food policy research, projects and programmes: linking food to community economic development, health and safety, environment, social justice, and international development – from the very local to the global.
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