We can evolve our housing norms so that they nourish our collective well-being. While supporting health and genuine wealth throughout the supply chain, the business of building homes can enhance the health of home occupants, workers, and our local economies and environment.

“The Economics of Happiness” and Genuine Wealth

Genuine Wealth is established when human wealth (people), social wealth (relationships), natural wealth (the environment), manufactured or built wealth (infrastructure), and financial wealth (money), are in healthy balance.”… Economist. Mark Anielski

A Genuine Wealth Assessment measures five areas of capital. Ark Anielski talks about a positive condition called Genuine Wealth that can be established when we can develop a balance of all the types of wealth, or capital we need to establish sustainable well being and quality of life. A research based approach to deep green design presents an exciting opportunity to use the building of each house as a way to ‘Genuine Wealth’ and the ‘Happiness Economy’.

Deep green home design can not only build a healthier, more durable and resilient home, it can transmute the health and environmental costs of tens of tonnes of building products into benefits for workers, manufacturing communities, the local economy and our environment. The way we design our land use and neighbourhoods is another way to build holistic benefits into our human systems by enabling social connectivity and collaboration.

The indicators of Genuine Wealth include:

Human Wealth (people)

Social Wealth (relationships)

Natural Wealth (the environment)

Manufactured or Built Wealth (infrastructure)

Financial Wealth (money)

Anielski is author of the book, The Economics of Happiness. In comparison to a simple two column ledger, used conventionally to track profits and losses, Anielski uses a five petalled flower chart to measure Genuine wealth, with each petal representing the measurements of one type of capital.

from the books back cover:

“We all know that money can’t buy you love…or happiness. But we have been living our lives as though the accumulation of wealth is the key to our dreams. North Americans have never been wealthier, but over the past 50 years our increasing prosperity has hardly made a dent on our happiness while many conditions of well-being are in decline.

So why do our measures of economic progress not reflect the values that make us happy: supportive relationships, meaningful work, a healthy environment and spiritual well-being?

Economist Mark Anielski has developed a new and practical economic model called Genuine Wealth, to measure the real determinants of well-being and help redefine progress.”

 ‘Petals’ of Genuine Wealth

What does an Economics of Happiness look like?

Here is a link to a great three part video panel discussion at the Economics of Happiness conference. The discussion was at the 2013 gathering and takes an insightful look at the hard questions about localization. What would it actually look like if we think and collaborate globally but act and shop locally?

Community Economics

Recently we now also have the Community Capital Tool to help assess the holistic benefits in a way that shares some similarities to an assessment of the benefits of Genuine Wealth.

The Community Capital tool is discussed at length in a book by Director Mark Roseland’s, Toward Sustainable Communities: Solutions for Citizens and Their Governments (2012). The idea of Community Capital is similar to Genuine Wealth. The forms of capital are defined as Natural, Physical, Economic, Human, Social, and Cultural.  “The Community Capital Tool is a decision support and assessment tool designed to facilitate and ground community discussion about integrated planning and monitoring. It is the product of collaboration between CSD and Telos, Brabant Center for Sustainable Development, Tilburg University, Netherlands.

The tool comprises two related instruments, the Community Sustainability Balance Sheet and the Community Capital Scan.  The Community Capital Tool is fully functional and ready to use.  The Community Capital Scan is available free online here, in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.  It was launched at the ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability 2012 World Congress and International Researcher’s Symposium, in association with the Rio+20 Earth Summit.”

(sourced Dec 14/16 from http://www.sfu.ca/cscd/community-capital-tool-launched.html)”

Local Dollars, Local Sense – Michael Shuman

Local Dollars, Local Sense is the name of economist, Michael Shuman’s latest book. Following are several excellent videos in which he unpacks his ideas for how to localize our investment efforts by moving our money from global companies to local communities for maximum return.

Earth Charter

The Earth Charter is a universal expression of ethical principles to foster sustainable development. It addresses the need for “a shared vision of basic values to provide an ethical foundation for the emerging world community. Therefore, together in hope we affirm the following interdependent principles for a sustainable way of life as a common standard by which the conduct of all individuals, organizations, businesses, governments, and transnational institutions is to be guided and assessed.” The charter represents a set of universal responsibilities including:

  • Respect and Care for the Community of Life
  • Ecological Integrity
  • Social and Economic Justice
  • Democracy, Non-Violence and Peace

The Earth Charter Initiative is the global network that embraces, uses and integrates the Earth Charter principles. Harmony Habitat proudly adheres to The Earth Charter.

BALLE – Localism

BALLE is an acronym that stands for Business Alliance for Local Living Economies. Localism is the name given to the means of achieving local living economies. It is about building communities that healthier and more sustainable – backed by local economies that are stronger and more resilient. The goal is real prosperity for all – through the following directives:

  • use regional resources to meet our needs
  • recognize that we’re all better off, when we’re all better off
  • build the New Economy where we live
  • reconnect eaters with farmers, investors with entrepreneurs, and business owners with communities
  • expand and diversify local ownership
  • develop policies to create more wealth per capital, more jobs and greater personal accountability
  • transform key industries into localized, sustainable, green- and community-focused industries
  • acknowledge the systemic relationship between the main industry sectors

Slow Money Principles

“In order to enhance food security, food safety and food access; improve nutrition and health; promote cultural, ecological and economic diversity; and accelerate the transition from an economy based on extraction and consumption to an economy based on preservation and restoration, we do hereby affirm the following Slow Money Principles:”

I. We must bring money back down to earth.

II. There is such a thing as money that is too fast, companies that are too big, finance that is too complex. Therefore, we must slow our money down — not all of it, of course, but enough to matter.

III. The 20th Century was the era of Buy Low/Sell High and Wealth Now/Philanthropy Later—what one venture capitalist called “the largest legal accumulation of wealth in history.” The 21st Century will be the era of nurture capital, built around principles of carrying capacity, care of the commons, sense of place and non-violence.

IV. We must learn to invest as if food, farms and fertility mattered. We must connect investors to the places where they live, creating vital relationships and new sources of capital for small food enterprises.

V. Let us celebrate the new generation of entrepreneurs, consumers and investors who are showing the way from Making A Killing to Making a Living.

VI. Paul Newman said, “I just happen to think that in life we need to be a little like the farmer who puts back into the soil what he takes out.” Recognizing the wisdom of these words, let us begin rebuilding our economy from the ground up.