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With the downturn in the economy we are having to take a hard look at our lives. Our graduates from university/college are going to have a hard time finding meaningful employment in their chosen field of endeavour.
Economic reality is now making sense abandoning the buy now save later mantra.

Cash/debit cards are replacing the plastic credit cards with their very high interest rates. Every first year post secondary student was mailed his/her very own Visa/Master card by the banks. Never mind that you were not working having to survive on your student loan allotment. Hell, having attained the age of majority and graduating high school was your entitlement to easy credit.

Canadians have always judged the measure of success in our economy by the Gross National Product numbers. It measures the productivity of our goods and services produced in a given year.

Perhaps it is time to change our focus on attaining a Gross National Happiness formula developed in Bhutan. “It is based on the premise that true development of human society takes place when material and spiritual development occurs side by side to reinforce each other.

The four pillars of GHN are the promotion of equitable and sustainable socio-economic development, preservation and promotion of cultural values, conservation of the natural environment, and the establishment of good governance.”
The people were asked to rate their lives with seven criteria: Economic Wellness: measured consumer debt, average income to consumer price index ratio and equitable income distribution.

Environmental Wellness :measured pollution, noise and traffic.
Physical Wellness: measured the physical health such as severe illness.
Mental Wellness: measured the use of antidepressants and rise or decline of psychotherapy patients.
Workplace Wellness: measured jobless claims, job changes, workplace complaints and lawsuits.
Social Wellness: measured discrimination, safety, divorce rates, complaints of family lawsuits, public lawsuits and crime rates.
Political Wellness: measured quality of local democracy, individual freedom and foreign conflicts.

As you can see the quality of one’s life doesn’t have to be based solely on making the most money or living in the most expensive neighborhood.

Many Canadians have pursued the American dream of a chicken in every pot and two cars in the garage have learned to their dismay that it doesn’t work. We now have to realize that many do not have a pot (economic stability) to call our own. Check out the headline, “Dream Shattered”, in Saturday’s London Free Press and you can read all about the fate of a group of immigrants to the United States who were gunned down.

The US does not have safe cities where the gun laws have given the citizens the right to bare arms (own handguns). President Obama reminded us that there are more Black young men who are incarcerated then there are in college. 50& of marriages end in divorce with millions of children living with their single parent mothers in poverty. There is a lack of social mobility for millions of Americans whose parents can’t afford a post secondary education.
There is no universal health care for millions of Americans. The well off have the opportunity to buy health insurance for their families.

For too many years the United States has been involved in distant wars that have devastated the public’s feelings of defending world peace. The war in Vietnam killed 48 thousand American young men.

The war in Iraq was based on a lie told to the American public that Sadam Husein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction. Billions of dollars and over six thousand young men along with tens of thousands of Iraqis have paid the price.

Canada has lost over a hundred young soldiers in Afghanistan along with millions of dollars. The Brits/Russians lost thousands of troops all to no avail.

We are supposed to withdraw our forces in 2011. Sadly we have learned little from interfering in foreign politics.

Canadians now have the opportunity to change our focus from our gross national product numbers and try to focus on our gross national wellness. We owe it to our children to change.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com