Friday, January 18, 2008

Genuine Progress Index

My head has been filled all day with health information and statistics having attended a number of sessions at a conference held by the Wellness Coalition, of which I am a member of the steering committee, injury prevention committee and member at large.

The guest speaker today was Dr Ronald Coleman. Dr. Colman is founder and Executive Director of GPIAtlantic, a non-profit research group that is constructing an index of wellbeing and sustainable development for Nova Scotia as a pilot project for Canada. Dr. Colman previously taught for 20 years at the university level and was a researcher and speech-writer at the United Nations.

The Statement of Principles of GPIAtlantic are:

The Genuine Progress Index is based on the fundamental understanding that social, economic and environmental realities are inextricably linked. Although we conventionally measure prosperity by material gain, the GPI recognizes that true long-term prosperity and wellbeing are ultimately dependent on the protection and strengthening of our social and environmental assets. If these deteriorate, we are not living "sustainably" and we leave a poorer world to our children.

The Genuine Progress Index also recognizes that any index of progress is value-based and must answer the question "progress towards what?" The use of the Gross Domestic Product as a measure of progress is also value based, and assumes that "more" is always "better." By contrast, the GPI adopts a set of broader consensus values in which "less" may sometimes be "better," as in the case of crime, pollution and sickness.

As I listened to him speak, the GPI concept transferred over to the artistic side and, while his presentation was based on health, it could easily be applied to art as well. And, of course, I had to sketch Dr. Coleman as he spoke....


Paulette said...

The GPI sounds like a Canada that I could wish for my children to live in. I am getting tired of our values being tied to big business and big profits.
I can see the relation to art, a quality over quantity type thing.

Katherine said...

Sounds like a bit of a tweak of the "balanced scorecard" - but and it's definitely good to look at things in the round.

I find I can't listen to people now without drawing them!