Ocean Mist

Issues and trends shaping our environment, health and economy

2 Dec 2016

Measuring comprehensive wealth

Posted by Michael Keating

Canadians need new ways to measure how the nation is progressing according to a study by the respected International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in Winnipeg. Gross Domestic Product, which measures national income, is still too often cited as a measure of how we are doing. But GDP misses a whole range of critical modern issues, such as climate change, global trade tensions, income inequality and the fast growth of information technologies.

The IISD called on governments to use a measure of Comprehensive Wealth, which includes natural, human and social capital.

  • natural capital is the nation’s land, water, forests, fauna, minerals and fossil fuels;
  • human capital is the skills and capabilities of the workforce;
  • social capital is the trust and cooperation among people that result from shared norms.

It is a rapidly changing world, with challenges ranging from climate change to global trade tensions, income inequality and the fast growth of information technologies. The report says the country cannot sustain another 30 years of natural capital depletion, and needs to diversify its economy to ensure that its development remains sustainable.

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