Economist urges godliness

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, April 25, 2019

Globetrotting economist Mark Anielski proposes common-sense tools for building a world of genuine wealth and happiness based on principle that we are stewards of God’s co-creation. Photos supplied

I’m writing this week’s column on April 22, Earth Day. But in a society that mouths the values of peace on earth and goodwill among its inhabitants, where on earth is that peace and goodwill to be found at a time of increased violence against each other and against Earth itself – often economy-driven?

Is there no hope for our broken world? One of our longtime coffee companions says, “Yes!”

Globetrotting economist and author Mark Anielski, Edmonton, points to the starting point for such hope:

“First of all, we need to measure the things that matter to God,” he says. “We are stewards of his co-creation with a responsibility to improve the well-being of others and have a better relationship with the earth. We have responsibilities to our neighbours.”

And just how does this relate to a business’s bottom line? “The fundamental question for a business entity is how you are contributing to the common good and economy of well-being,” he says. “There’s nothing wrong with making money, but I am calling for a different bottom line – not just profit maximization but also a well-being returns on investments. We need to maximize all the returns of the different assets to contribute to the well-being of the society.”

And in achieving that well-being, it is necessary to overcome fear of cultural change, both corporate and societal, he says. It must be rooted in prayer, thanksgiving and humility, recognizing that the ultimate “basis of accounting is to be accountable to God because all wealth comes from God.”

In his most recent book, An Economy of Well-Being: Common-Sense Tools for Building Genuine Wealth and Happiness, Mark focuses on eight areas: businesses, governments, First Nations well-being, policy makers and communities, banking and finance, non-profit organizations, marketing, and personal well-being.

In today’s bottom-line-driven world, a company’s – and a family’s, a nation’s and a planet’s – best interests are ultimately “defined in terms of our net positive impact on the well-being of society and the environment,” he stresses. Yes, it’s all about being God’s good stewards in our role as co-creators.

Mark wrote this book – a follow-up to his first book, The Economics of Happiness (see my column for July 3, 2013) – “to inspire a new generation of politics” at home and abroad. “A well-being-based economy is the ultimate frontier for economies.”

In that earlier book, Mark set the stage for his current volume: “I firmly believe we are at an important tipping point in human history. A shared consciousness is emerging which will be supported by enlightened, life-affirming economics.”

He tells me he’s been “invited to attend a high-level meeting of former world leaders at the InterAction Council to be held in Cartagena, Colombia, May 13–16 to discuss strategies to move from smart cities to wise cities based on the notion of well-being.” He’s also been invited to Seoul, South Korea, to be on a panel with the mayors of London and San Francisco. “I hope to present my vision of a civilization of love,” he says.

May it be so, Mark. Thank you for inspiring all of us with your vision of hope for our broken world.


© 2019 Warren Harbeck

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