Ron Colman: Genuine Economic Indicators. How do we factor losses into our economy to give a true cost to the nation?

Interviewed by

Tim Lynch

Ron Colman: Genuine Economic Indicators. How do we factor losses into our economy to give a true cost to the nation?

What are ‘Genuine Progress Indicators’ in relationship to GDP or ‘Gross Domestic Product?’

There is a growing awareness of what Genuine Progress Indicators do - as GDP includes all costs to the nation, whilst GPI, wants to address the losses to society.

  • Crime and family breakdown is seen as Gross Domestic Product
  • Household and volunteer work is seen as Gross Domestic Product
  • Pollution and its consequences are seen as Gross Domestic Product
  • Long term environmental damage is seen as Gross Domestic Product
  • Even War goes through the books as... Gross Domestic Product!

So all of the above, don’t really benefit society at all - as they are all major losses yet, Governments globally have always classified these as a measure of economic growth!

In this interview which becomes quite riveting in the end - Dr Coleman talks of the challenges of putting GPI in place within the government economic apparatus. That prior to the 3 term National Party Key administration, that Labour Minister of Finance Michael Cullen was very interested in this concept - but Labour was voted out of office - and he was not able to follow through in taking this forward.

But in the meantime these losses are costing society and the country dearly!

Genuine Progress indicators is a ‘holistic’ way of seeing a more integrated bigger economic picture, that factors in the environment, as well as the community as a whole.

Holism

A holistic way is to view all the various facets to life in a more homeostatic way. As in a integrated whole of interconnection and interrelationships. In this interview he mentions that when he engaged the leaders of the NZ Maori Party they instantly and intuitively grokked his reasoning as applying to our planet - Papatuanku as alive - or the earth acting as one great superorganism.

This was then extended to the Whanganui river being classified recently by the NZ Government as a living entity that has a vast catchment area of some 7,000 square kilometres. - The next question is, do we have the will to see the far larger picture as we further our knowledge of the interconnection of life. (James Cameron in the blockbuster movie Avatar, introduced the moon Pandora as a living being and that all the tree roots interconnected in one vast - neural network). See the Gaia Hypothesis - James Lovelock

One of the larger challenges is that both in business and in Government there is compartmentalisation. Where there is very little to no ‘cross fertilisation’ or sharing - people are often in positions of ‘need to no only’ so they only understand a very limited perspective of how the whole organism/organisation works. That the company or the Department is not acting as a ‘dynamic whole’ and thus efficiencies as well as enthusiastic participation - is throttled back. When in a very connected electronic world - the imperative is energetic team spirit, that on a grander scale then spontaneously engenders novelty and innovation.

Bhutan

This subject came out of the blue in that I was wanting to see what country was further along the ‘conscious journey’ of seeing the world in a more futuristic and caring perspective. So knowing that Bhutan was a country that had a ‘happiness’ indicator I threw in a the comment - what about Bhutan?

Well Ron came back to me and said he had lived there for 5 years - and so could tell us far more than virtually anyone in the West has heard.

He said that they had a fairly enlightened King who wanted to gauge the feelings of the mainly Buddhist inhabitants of that small kingdom. With initiating a Gross National Happiness (GNH) goal.

What comes out of this discussion is that the Bhutan government wanted to float this idea through the UN so that other countries could participate. When this happened - and though a lot of countries thought this was a good idea, there was pushback especially as this would have had to deal straight at face value - with other countries poverty and all the other contingencies like clean air, water, land and food production, housing, education and health. You name it.

Synchronicity with what’s happening in New Zealand

Fortunately, this goal is still alive and well today and the present NZ government is putting a lot of attention into it..

The Government's plan to announce the world's first "wellbeing" Budget next year resonates with business people if a big Waikato Inc turnout to hear Finance Minister Grant Robertson is any gauge. NZ Herald 10th July 2018

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12086507

Then Ron takes his attention to what’s happening in the biosphere and the overlapping challenges and tipping points as to what we as a humanity are doing to our planetary ‘life support system’.

Bangkok under water by 2033, which I question him about - because Al Gore said that the Arctic would be ice free in summer by 2013, and it has not happened. Yet, the warming continues - see the temperatures in Europe over the last month.

Shift in planetary consciousness -

The interview moves on to talk about planetary leadership and there is a vast vacuum in all governments globally. The fact that people are rebelling against neoliberalism and the status quo and that of the whole Brexit domino situation etc etc. Listen

Empowering Youth and Women

There is an acute need for empowering of the worlds youth and especially woman (and their reproductive rights) - to nurture their/our common future. Plus, for them (that in this somewhat tumultuous world) to be in a healthy position to make this change possible. This is an area that we all intuitively know that as a human society, we need to engage in - and urgently.

Though we still have to trust that the top down model of leadership ‘may’ engage the population with an enlightened approach - the thrust of this whole interview is about grassroots movements. An energised bottom-up regeneration and metamorphosis movement. This interview carried on to include many small towns, villages and regions in NZ consciously coming together as small focussed communities. See main page GreenplanetFM.com

These are about farmers markets acting as a catalyst to bring the community closer together so as to have access to cheaper, healthier organic foodas well as to network together plus organising aof time banks. Especially that volunteerism can be rewarded by time bank credits.

Other Initiatives

In Auckland the Manukau District Health Board now has worked alongside the championing of 70 community gardens in the area. The benefits are many, and this can only encourage the community to healthily become more engaged and connected.

This was a very lively and empowering interview. We both came away ‘happy and empowered.’

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Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch

Tim Lynch, is a New Zealander, who is fortunate in that he has whakapapa, or a bloodline that connects him to the Aotearoan Maori. He has been involved as an activist for over 40 years - within the ecological, educational, holistic, metaphysical, spiritual & nuclear free movements. He sees the urgency of the full spectrum challenges that are coming to meet us, and is putting his whole life into being an advocate for todays and tomorrows children. 'To Mobilise Consciousness.'

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