End Growth, Save the Planet?

it said that a rising tide lifts all boats that’s usually considered a good thing but what if the economic growth that the expression refers to actually results in widespread flooding to continue the metaphor acting as a driving force behind ecological destruction well with us to explore the potential risks of endless economic expansion we welcome in Montreal Quebec via Skype Chris Reagan he’s the director of McGill University’s max Bell School of Public Policy and a former chair of Canada’s eco fiscal commission in the nation’s capital setting back president of analytic advisors and a senior associate with the International Institute for sustainable development and in our studio here atif Kapoor C professor emeritus of economics at McMaster University Peter Victor professor emeritus of environmental studies at York University and the author of managing without growth slower by design not disaster and Sara Kaplan director at the U of T’s Institute for gender and the economy at the Rotman School of Management and the author of the 360 corporation from stakeholder trade-offs to transformation and it’s great to have all of you both here in the studio and in points beyond for this very timely discussion which I’m going to set up by reading the following quotes here’s American economist Kenneth Boulding who said in 1973 anyone who believes that exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist that’s a pretty good line environmentalist Edward Abbott Abby wrote in 1977 growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell and then of course this past year granite unburned the UN climate action summit this very much quoted and very famous line people are suffering people are dying entire ecosystems are collapsing we are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairytales of eternal economic growth how dare you let’s get into this Peter to you first 97% of climate scientists believe climate change is human caused and I suspect the same percentage of economists believe we need economic growth you’re not one of them how come well I think that the the record is pretty clear that economic growth to the extent we’ve pursued it has such damage to the biosphere you’ve already mentioned climate change lots of species flooding and the the future looks a lot worse if we continue on this path so what I think is that it’s quite possible for an economy such as Canada’s to manage without growth and still provide people with a very satisfactory standard of living and reduce the pressure on the biosphere and I think it’s about time that we moved in that direction atif are you also one of those who is not obsessed with the need for constant economic growth unfortunately I am it’s absolutely the case that we have to ask what for is economic growth to what end in the name of economic growth we destroyed villages we spoiled the environment we created wars we have tolerated incredible inequitable distribution of income and wealth and that went on to spoil the very basis challenging the very existence of this planet and to what extent do we really need to continue going with growth without us in the question are there other objectives that we need to pursue and to what extent is economic growth now in conflict with this object I need someone from the Rotman School to come back on that then if we had no more economic growth what do you suspect would be the impact on the Ontario and then slash Canadian economy well I think this conversation about no growth is really important because it causes us to think about well what would society have to look like but the concern that I think if I have to wear the pro-growth hat would be that economic growth is something that a create space for innovations for new technologies to come in and maybe solve some of these problems that organizations when they they need to grow in order to give people kind of career paths that allow them to work hard and imagine a kind of future and so without economic growth the concern is we won’t have the resources to pay for the kinds of transformations that we need to pay for on the other hand I think if you just assume that growth is the only answer without having this kind of conversation that we’re having we may go in a very toxic direction which is the warning that’s being raised right now Selina I’ll ask you to pick up the story at that point what do you imagine would be the random vacations of a no growth economy well first of all you know one of the reasons why we monitor growth is because it’s a sign of confidence in the economy and confidence is what enables credit and credit is what it is when it’s tied to the real economy is what is what enables investments to be made in productive use and so productive opportunities for Canada include getting us on a path of a great deal more productivity for the

resources that we use I for the purposes of this this session today I looked up our carbon productivity compared to northern climate neighbors like the c7 we can call it for the moment and we have a lot of opportunity in terms of increasing our productivity on a carbon footprint basis or ours is three and a half times more intense our use of carbon is three and a half times more intense than that of Sweden and to two times more intense than that of Norway and Finland and we’re 50% more more spend forests benefits and then Iceland in terms of the way we use energy in this country so there’s lots of opportunity for us to invest in the productivity of our resources including energy ok Chris I’ll get you to weigh in now what do you think of the advisability of moving to a no growth economy well let’s be clear what we mean by growth what we typically mean by growth is growth in GDP gross domestic product or a national income which is the sum of everybody’s income I think it’s really important to make the distinction between no growth or maybe even D growth on the one hand and better growth on the other hand so we’ve heard mention of environmental degradation environmental damage and I am very concerned about that we’ve also heard from I think atif about rising income inequality and I think that is a very serious problem as well I actually think it’s possible to design policies that can actually be directed at proving environmental outcomes and at improving income distribution that aren’t actually damaging to growth I think you I don’t think it’s automatic I think you’ve got to do it carefully and I do worry actually that policies that are actively designed to reduce growth might actually make at least one of those income inequality actually worse so I I think we’ve got a avoid this sort of polarize debate about pro-growth or anti growth I think we’ve got to think about better growth and think about policies that can be used to address those ok Peter you’ve heard some pushback what do you want to come back with well I think it’s pretty clear that we actually we need a reduction in the use of materials and energy and the discharge of greenhouse gases and other pollutants so it’s not even a question of no growth there I think most people who are concerned about the environment realize we’ve got to reduce the pressure on the biosphere now the question is can you do that more easily if the economy is growing that if it’s not growing and I think the argument is pretty clear that it’s easier to reduce the total amount of emissions of greenhouse gases going into the environment if the economy is not growing than if it is growing we need all the efficiency gains that Selene and Chris have have mentioned but those efficiency gains have to be that much greater if the economy is growing than if it’s not growing and so and when you look at the numbers it’s absolutely it really quite depressing if we’re going to get to zero net emissions as the Government of Canada has said by 2050 we’ve got to our emissions per dollar of GDP by about 10 percent a year every year from now till then that’s an astonishing astonishing ambitious goal that I think is way beyond the argument that well well just keep growing anywhere and will somehow get there well having said that atif if you look between 1990 and 2015 more than a billion people in this world many would argue thanks to pro-growth policies have been lifted out of abject poverty to the point where they now have somewhat of a better life that’s a pretty good economics or success story and it’s attributed to pro-growth policies well maybe one has to look at it in a different way first of all we tend to always talk about economics as if it’s totally isolated from the society within which it’s rooted or the environment to the extent that we are depleting resources depleting non-renewable resources that we cannot replace to the extent that we probably are harvesting renewable resources beyond their maximum sustainability is oak and Canada we destroy it totally the cod fishery to the extent that we are fouling the environment the issue is not within economics yes there are definitely policies that would give you better income distribution with growth but if you put it within that greater framework we’re doing it at the expense of a viable environment against a sustainable life and and these are issues that we really need to take seriously so I just think if an example of the tension that this relates to is for example the BP oil spill in the Gulf eleven people died three billion you know or gallons of oil poured in but it actually led to GDP growth because there was it was extremely costly to clean it up so if we’re thinking about these kinds

of issues we have to look at those trade-offs and what I’ve been trying to think about is how do we encompass not just this measures of pure economic growth because in that case we really didn’t want that economic growth but how can we look at all the different measures that we could think of as well-being in the economy and then look at innovative solutions that address multiple dimensions as opposed to a single dimension of GDP growth or growth within the firm so that’s the way that I’ve been trying to think about it I know we have a lot of economists here but I’m going to quote yet another one here’s Paul Krugman writing in The New York Times about advocates for an or growth economy Sheldon wanna bring this graphic up they don’t understand what economic growth means they think of it as a crude physical thing a matter simply of producing more stuff and don’t take into account the many choices about what to consume about which technologies to use that go into producing a dollars worth of GDP so here’s what you need to know climate despair is all wrong the idea that economic growth and climate action are incompatible may sound hard-headed and realistic but it’s actually a fuzzy minded misconception if we ever get past the special interest an idea that have blocked action to save the planet we’ll find that it’s cheaper and easier than almost anyone imagines okay I got to go to Selene first and then we’ll get everybody else to comment on that do you think Selena that growth and climate action are compatible well first of all I should say that it would be really good news if we had zero growth at the moment and that was attributed attributable to climate action and that’s not the case emissions are rising in Canada they’re rising globally and this is obviously a very grave concern we we are still our financial system is still very much attuned to financing the economy of the past and we’re not yet to the point where our banking system and our investment investments are aligned with the opportunities that I described earlier and so you know there is a there’s a conundrum there and and I think there are there are some eminent economists many of whom have Nobel Prizes who have argued both sides of that of that question I think we need to very very soon come to terms with the fact that at the moment we have financing banking that is for Rick Ford non renewable sources of energy for hydrocarbons that are the cause primary cause of climate change that are in the case of a 1.5 degrees scenario 120 percent of what is going to be possible and needed so we we can we can I think if we align the financial system and credit and the ability to invest in the real economy including the innovations we’re discussing we can I think make that change happen but if not where we’re going to find ourselves in this situation where we’re going to actually have to pay to remove the carbon from the air and that’s at the at the very root of greed Asim Berg’s ad vacations to us all they don’t leave us my generation my children’s generation don’t leave us to grow our way into paying for removing the carbon out of the air which should never have gone in to the atmosphere in the first place let’s get Kristin and Sarah on this well your question was can we have both and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and my answer is absolutely yes Krugman likes to write things with a little bit of an edge to it but I’m pretty sure that he would be in favor of broad-based economy-wide carbon pricing the Eco fiscal commission which is now over but I chaired for its duration has written several reports on how we can have well-designed carbon prices in this country and by extension in other countries how that that kind of policy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions very significantly and have almost no impact on on overall economic growth one of the things that’s improvements quote that’s very important is that the nature of GDP the nature the nature of our production and our income changes and changes drastically over time a hundred years ago forty five percent of Canadian labor force were on the farm today it’s less than two percent but eighty percent of Canadian employment today is in services services is dramatically less energy intensive and carbon intensive than manufacturing and agriculture so as the economies change we do actually change the nature of output but the short answer Steve is absolutely we can continue economic growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions dramatically the nature of our growth will change we will do more of less carbon intensive things and less of more carbon intensive things but overall GDP growth can continue Sarah and then atif so I want to pick up on something that Krugman says almost as a throwaway at the end which is if we could just get

around the kind of people who are resisting change and I think that’s the important thing to think about is that we have we have a set of assumptions in existing system and under those assumptions it’s very hard to imagine a scenario other than the kind of scenario that maybe Chris is talking about but I I feel like we need to also pay attention to the fact that there are those many forces that are resisting and so he says it as a throwaway but that’s actually what I think we need to be doing is Saleem talking about the fact that the financial system hasn’t caught up with our needs yet we need innovation not just product innovation but innovation and how financed things and things like that if we’re gonna get around the the barriers that Krugman talked about in his quotes and teeth then Peter yeah the trouble with the argument that Krugman has advanced is that choices are yes there you know between products between what produce what we consume and how we produce it but there are broader choices choices between material life and non material life between the fact that GDP is not highly correlated with every good outcome we like we have countries like Sri Lanka where the life expectancy is far longer than what is a GDP would have predicted the United Nations has been so dissatisfied with the fixation on GDP that they designed some we called HDI Human Development Index where they take variables other than GDP the level of education life expectancy and many people are unhappy with this the word happiness has never really ever come into it you know there are countries like Bhutan who probably are happier without the GDP that goes with it the story here is that we’re getting into existential choices that the material life pursuit the material life now is at the expense of existence itself and we have to take these things seriously and see what we can do with it Peter Victor so one of the problems with the priority that we give to economic growth is that whenever anybody proposes something else for environmental purposes or to improve the distribution of income the question is what will that do for growth so growth is not just something we decide whether we want or not it the pursuit of it is impeding our capacity to achieve all of these other goals that others others have mentioned I fit of a religion a it’s very much a religion and I’m afraid it’s a religion that far too many economists still seem to subscribe to so that would be one important point the second thing is if we were to continue growth at 3% here and by the way the question of moving to a service economy Christa’s very well explained we’ve already done a lot of that but yet our greenhouse gas emissions still keep growing so obviously that’s not the answer now if the economy was to grow at 3% a year for the night twenty-five years it would double in size now if everything stayed much the same we would double greenhouse gas emissions that obviously it catastrophic but simply to keep our greenhouse gas emissions constant under those circumstances we would have to have the greenhouse gas emissions per dollar all the technology technology we’re hearing about can contribute to that but that would just keep us where we are we’ve got to reduce emissions dramatically so to think we can do that while the economy continues to expand and expand given all of the changes in the way people spend their money just the sorts of things Krugman seems to want to hang his hat on I think is just taking us precisely down the wrong path Chris Reagan I should give you a chance to respond to that yeah a couple of things I agree that we should not put all of our attention and all of our policy focus on GDP growth you know when I teach at the maxvill school I ask my students to show of hands if they would like their personal income to rise and every single one of them says yes and that’s the argument for increasing GDP because that’s just what GDP is it’s the sum of everybody’s income but then I asked them a second question which is put your hand up if the only thing you care about is your personal income and nobody puts their hand up which is good it’s a very good sign so we care about income and we should but we also care about many other things so if the argument is we shouldn’t focus only on GDP growth I completely agree we should focus on other things as well but we don’t want to ignore GDP growth but Peter’s second statement about about greenhouse gas emissions so to me the question is what kinds of policies can we put in place that will achieve the kind of dramatic greenhouse gas emissions reductions that Peter is talking about I think Peter and I would probably be on very close to the same page in terms of the kinds of emissions reductions that we like and would need over the next 30 or 50 years to me the challenge is how do we design policies that do that I mentioned carbon pricing carbon pricing is not the only kind of policy but whatever policies we design I think we should you know get to it and design those policies stringent but also design those policies to

achieve their outcome in a low-cost way and I think we can do that Atif commerce’ was full I’m a bit worried that one of the major arguments about pro-growth and its compatibility with the environment rests on is excessive belief in the capacity of technology to save us and this is really a problem because one nag good economist friend of Peter Rowe said really you can’t cook something with just the recipe you need resources the continuously need of resources and some of these resources you can’t substitute for you can substitute for oil natural gas or wind you can substitute for many resources but can you substitute for water there is one constraint that’s going to be a critical constraint that is going to thwart every effort we have to believe that we can continuously grow and substitute things and rationalize and reconcile the conflicting demands on society well sir let me get you in here at another angle of this which is we’ve been talking mostly about what the potential ramifications are of a no growth economy on the first world right but if we look at income inequality and we look at the developing world right can we imagine what the impact of nvm six or eight or nine percent growth rates in China or India which they have been accustomed to over the last many years what about zero and what the impact on that might be well I think that’s the important issue about this debate because it’s all well and good for those of us sitting here in the studio or on the on the on the line to say we need less stuff right but there’s a lot of people who still need more stuff if we look at First Nations people and even northern Canada if we look at people in Appalachia or Flint Michigan no less people in Bangladesh Malawi Vietnam so it’s you know one thing for us to say now we need to tone it down just when we have the levels of comfort and now that is going to have these ramifications now I’m not saying that that’s a justification for us doing a huge environmental damage as we grow but I think we have to also take into account you know if we go to no-growth it could be that the people in positions of privilege will hoard that privilege and that will actually have huge ramifications for people who aren’t in positions of privilege I should get Saleem on that we’ve got billions of people in the developing world that want to grow economically and prosper just as we have Sarah just indicated that can that growth though be greener than the growth that clearly we have not seen in terms of a green economy here so far well that’s obviously the premise of the Paris agreement and it’s also the premise behind the idea that that countries and regions that have had more than their fair share of historical emissions should pay a greater share of the the zero growth development in developing countries and and Climate Action Network Canada has produced I think a very interesting perspective on that suggesting that you know in fact we should decarbonize to the point where we we go beyond zero in order to compensate for the fact that we’ve had you know access to energy which has which has filled up the atmosphere and the balloon where we have a limited amount of room for co2 emissions at a practical level I would say that one of the things that really impedes zero or low-carbon growth in developing countries is again access to credit it’s surprisingly expensive to get access to credit for renewable energy projects and other low carbon projects in in some of the countries that Sarah mentioned earlier Vietnam is a place where we coal power plants are being built today because it’s cheaper to do that and that is actually surprising to us right because we we know now that the renewable energy wind and solar are cheaper to deploy in advanced economies then is the case for combining heat and power with natural gas as well as coal so there’s a lot of work to do in order to establish the confidence in the economies in the banking systems of developing countries so that they can actually have that low-cost energy and and zero emitting it which is that the root of building a better life for people who are you know whose countries are at the beginning of their development pathway Peter Victor if I just want to say that the work I’ve done on managing without growth over the years has been focused very much on the rich countries and partly the motivation for that is to make some more space for poorer countries to develop and grow so it’s not it’s not a position which says nobody should have growth anywhere now I would go one step further and say that by most measures rich countries are

making it in very very difficult for poor countries to develop because of the press you were putting on the bars where for example the ecological footprint measures suggest we’d need nearly four earths if everybody on the planet was going to live like Canadians so we are overusing out our presence on the on the battery is so great that we are in fact depriving poorer countries of the ability to develop and I think it needs to be seen that way so when it comes to recognizing where Humanity as a whole has a problem who should go first in backing off well surely the rich countries yeah should take the lead and say ok we’ve reached a very high standard of living the distribution is not reasonable there are lots of things to change I really like Celine’s emphasis on the on the money system the credit system and how we’re going to finance a lot of investment frankly that won’t be profitable that will have tremendous environmental payoffs but won’t necessarily result in a positive cash flow we’ve got to find ways to finance that so there’s a great menu of that activities it includes the carbon price and the Chris has done such a good job on we’ve got a whole agenda of actions but I think they’ll only come to be if we take our eye off the growth in GDP as the most important economic principle and say ok what’s the full range of things that we want to satisfy that motif well there is a major issue in the whole discourse of sustainable development we tend to emphasize that we have to be helpful to future generations we should not consume and destroy the environment and bequeath to the future generation a world that would not be amenable to them to maximize or to live comfortably in it this presupposes something that has been forgotten that I cannot ask the poor person in the third world to sacrifice so that my grandchild in a rich country is going to live an amenable and sustainable life it presupposes that this intergenerational equity requires an intra generation equity we need exactly the first world to yield so space so that these people in the third world and there is a good empirical curve called the cosmic curve that and some of these poor countries even when they grow they are likely to improve the environment rather than to think but only in that context of redistribution in the context of an intergenerational equity that preserves I hear you but I wonder Sarah if there aren’t a bunch of people watching this right now who are thinking of themselves you know we talk about the rich first world countries and they don’t feel rich and they don’t feel like they’re dramatically better off than some of the people in the developing country that we’re talking about right now how does this work for them well there are many people in even developed countries who are not doing as well and I so I think that this question of redistribution has to be within our countries as well as across countries I think one of just tying together some of the comments that have been made before about this idea of growth and something Saleem raised as well is that if we treat the need to drive growth as the gating factor like we won’t do anything unless we can prove growth or less we can prove a financial return as as Peter was talking about we’ll never get any of these innovative solutions however it often turns out and this is true in the corporate world that if you actually pursue something because it’s going to be good for the environment or something else later it turns out that it’s actually really good for profits or other things but they would have never done it if their first requirement was profits or growth and so I think that we if we always stop these conversations with oh this will reduce growth and we’ll never be able to get to the innovative ideas that have been discussed around this table I’m going to read something here from Warwick Smith who’s a research economist at the progressive think tank per capita who wrote this in The Guardian and Chris Reagan I’ll give you the first chance to respond to this one here comes the quote you may be surprised to hear that there’s really good news in all this none of the stuff we’re doing that’s destroying the biosphere is making us happy by contrast changing to a more sustainable way of living will also bring us greater happiness and general well-being seem too good to be true well that’s because we’ve all been so effectively sold the line that endless growth is essential to maintain and improve our quality of life this couldn’t be further from the truth material prosperity has diminishing returns when it comes to happiness and well-being once we have good access to food shelter health care and other basic material things the nature of the community in which you live and the quality of your relationships is the best predictor of well-being more stuff only makes a very marginal difference Chris your take on that I think I largely agree with it so I want to come back to differences about material well-being across countries so we know there are still many many poor people in

the world but even those differences within a country like Canada a rich country like Canada there are still many poor people here but I think it’s true I mean I think maybe most of us around the table would probably value an extra hour of leisure more than we would value an extra few dollars of income we just somehow seem to not be able to figure out how to do that and I wish I could solve that problem so I’m not I guess so the idea that our happiness comes from more than material well-being strikes me as being true and obviously true I think what we need to do then is to say what is the policy action that comes from that and are you going to use are you going to use government policy to impose on the way that you know how many hours people work or are you going to impose on how many weeks they work are you gonna force people to consume less but you know I’m not quite sure what you’re going to do other than having all of us somehow realize in you know in deep within ourselves that what you know we would be happier if we had less stuff and had more time with our family I believe that I just don’t quite know where that takes the finance minister or the Prime Minister or you know the the head of the central bank atif yeah one of the great contributions of Peter is that he emphasized the need to situate the economy within the biosphere and take the constraints of biosphere you’re talking about this Peter here this Peter okay as mentioned in his book managing without growth slower by design not disaster available at better bookstores everywhere but there’s a plug for the day there is another dimension I want to throw and this is to situate the economy within the cultural context there are so many different cultures we tend as economists to think culture is not important or culture is one superior culture and we all have to emulate to a great extent this seems to be the dominant discourse we have to all advance and become as rich as the first world why isn’t it that we take other cultures that had valued non material life and had pursued different alternatives and valued other aspects than just the mindless pursuit of accumulation this would may be a way in in the sense that you could be content with less and may be value social life family life leisure and other things to the extent we keep driven by this cultural imperialism story in which we would always have to emulate and succumb and copy the well the West you know maybe we have no way out is that a heretical point of view for some of the teachers of Rotman no I think there’s a lot more diversity of Rotman than you think and I’m actually a sociologist and not an economist so I will say sociologists have talked for a long time about the fact that economic measures like GDP don’t account for all sorts of things like for example care work or leisure or all these other kinds of things and I think one of the one of the first paths forward would be really emphasizing these other kinds of measures like what you said the ad HDI some people call it the general progress indicator if we were actually accounting and I say this in my work on gender too for the care work the unpaid care work at home and we we thought more broadly about all of the measures of what’s going on in our lives then growth would mean something very different under that context so yes I think part of it is as Chris said us thinking differently about this problem GDP is only something that got in you know created in the 1930s it’s not like GP has been something out there forever it was something that humans created as a limited way to measure a certain kind of economic activity but we could create something else Peter I do want you to speak to this angle though if we have a no growth economy and presumably that means we have less tax revenue flowing into the federal and provincial coffers presumably what does that mean in terms of trying to take on for example the healthcare challenges of the future where we presumably are going to need a lot more money to deal with the health challenges of a graying generation I mean fill in the blanks etc etc right right well I’ve looked at this in some detail in the book you happen to mention a little while ago and what I do is I build simulation models to look at possible futures under under different assumptions if you look at the base case of just trying to carry along down the track we’re on it’s disastrous and I just want to decide here it’s not just climate change as biodiversity loss its acidification of the oceans isn’t it’s a accumulation of nitrogen in the biophysical cycles and so on we’ve got a lot of environmental problems they talked about nine planetary boundaries so it’s not just a climate change problem now as to government’s needing

tax buddy what do you see that’s one of the advantages of doing a simulation model you include tax receipts in it you include government expenditures and if in one of my scenarios where we slow down the rate of growth and said it’s not the economy is not growing at all we’re actually better off than we are today we’re just not as rich as we would have been if we had pursued a growth rate of two three four percent indefinitely into the future so when you say the government will have less tax money is less than what not less than we have now not less but less than what we would have if we were successful in that awful pursuit of a never-ending economic growth where we would definitely need even more money to solve our problems yeah so finding that balance between a slower rate of growth maybe no growth maybe maybe deep growth and then how we allocate the output of the economy to the different things that we need and and all around the table I think you’ve heard examples of misallocation of expenditures if what we really want is well-being now can I just have one other thing there are three countries now which have identified themselves of the well-being Alliance Finland Iceland and and Scotland Scotland and they have now we’re talking about the government Christmas saying what would you say to the Prime Minister their prime ministers have said what really matters in our countries is well-being and they have explicitly said that that is not to be confused with growth in GDP in which case Chris should we not just start a campaign today that says we are not allowed to mention the letters GDP anymore we’ve got to come up with something well we already have other alternatives they’ve been mentioned on this program already and that ought to be what informs government policy decisions going forward can we do that I think you shouldn’t do that but but but I’ll make a friendly amendment to your proposal I don’t think you want to ignore GDP GDP is a very good measure of the thing that it was designed to measure it certainly has some problems but it was never designed to be a measure of well-being or happiness okay or you know it just wasn’t designed to be that it was a measure of the value of goods and services flowing through markets and for example if the government wants to be able to make a forecast of where its tax revenues will go over the next five years knowing where GDP will go is a pretty pretty important thing in but my friendly amendment is should we be talking about other things and should we be thinking about other things whether it’s a you know an index of social well-being when we are designing policies absolutely so let’s put more emphasis on the non income things that matter for life and let’s get the finance minister to do that and the industry minister to do that and the to do that and everybody else but let’s not ignore GDP Celine you’re gonna sign on to that friendly amendment well actually I’m gonna say I think it’s an interesting coincidence that it Finland was the sponsor for the finance ministers first meeting at a climate at the cop in Madrid and maybe humbly say that I propose that a couple years ago that finance ministers need to be in the in you know a very active role in regards to living an economy that enables us to live within the biosphere I guess I would add to Peters proposal that there are ecological goods and services that should be included in GDP the nature provides services that that are valuable flood mitigation pollution management and control and many in many cases indigenous communities and farmers and stewards of the land take care of those things and that’s not included in GDP so I think we need to make GDP work for us rather than the other way around and I maintain that GDP is important in terms of it’s an indication of confidence and confidence is what enables credit and credit if directed properly is what enables us to invest in the real zero carbon economy ok got about a minute I have to go here so quick comment from you quick comment from you very quickly I would assign on to the Romanian yes only if I know what the other things are because we tend to a great extent take GDP and get all these things that are correlated with it I’d like to be a much broader one one that is not ethnocentric that it look to some extent the HDI is supposed to be a major improvement for the happiness no no HDI is a human development human development ok but the story is we at one time Canada was the top and every country is measured how close it is to Canada that’s the whole measure by itself it’s a very dubious situation I’d like to include leisure I’d like to include a climate you know how clean is the environment I’d like to include the divorce rate all other variables that consider I’d like to include Peter where we run out of time here go ahead

to say that I think it would be a mistake to expand the scope of GDP to try to include all of these other things by a part of applying monetary values to them I think it’s much better to put it back in its place I agree with Chris that it still has a use but let’s keep it contained let’s not make it the number one priority to see it grow and let’s make sure we’re measuring and monitoring the other things that really matter and gear our policy in both in the private and public sector too that a friendly discussion with a friendly amendment to boot well done okay can I thank all of you for coming on at Evo tonight Chris Reagan sitting back at efq abour see Peter Victor and Sarah Kaplan it was great all having you here for this very happy discussion thank you thank you so much thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you the agenda with Steve Paikin is brought to you by the chartered professional accountants of Ontario CPA Ontario is a regulator an educator a thought leader and an advocate we protect the public we advance our profession we guide our CPAs we are CPA Ontario and by viewers like you thank you