Economist Armine Yalnizyan reminds us that the present call for austerity is taking place amid a period of incredible wealth.
Speaking at a Students for Medicare Conference in Toronto March 31st, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternative economist said this debate is taking place amid a backdrop of growing income inequality.
“We’re standing in the middle of the industrial revolution,” she said. “Global wealth is expanding exponentially. We have more access to stuff than ever before.”
Economist Armine Yalnizyan speaking at the Students for Medicare Conference March 31.
While the rich were also affected by the economic crisis of 2008, having lost on their investments, she says they have bounced back much faster than the rest of us.
There is a growing consensus among major institutions – including the Bank of Canada — that growing inequality is a major problem.
You don’t have to look further than the Occupy movement to realize that public policy has been skewed by a focus on changes to the gross domestic product (GDP) – a measure of change in the size of the overall economy.
Changes in economic activity don’t necessarily tell us whether we’re sacrificing our work-life balance to maintain our standard of living, whether new wealth is only flowing to those at the very top, or whether such growth is at the expense of the environment, critical for all human life.
The first ever Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) was released this month to provide an alternate way of looking at public policy decisions through a more rational evidence-based lens.