What Really Counts by Ronald Colman

Sustainable and equitable

Ronald Colman virtual book launch—May 13

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Bookmark in Charlottetown will host the PEI book launch for Nova Scotia author Ronald Colman’s new book What Really Counts: The Case for a Sustainable and Equitable Economy. The free virtual event will take place May 13 at 7 pm.

According to Colman, Politicians and economists fixate on “growing the economy”—measured by a country’s gross domestic product. But this yardstick counts harmful activities such as greenhouse gas emissions, plastic waste, and cigarette sales as gains, and it ignores environmental protection, voluntary community work, and other benefits. What we measure is a choice, and what is and isn’t counted determines what sorts of policies are enacted. How can we shift the focus to well-being and quality of life?

“This is an important book that deserves the attention of politicians, business leaders, activists and concerned citizens. As we look forward to life beyond the COVID-19 pandemic there is an opportunity to re-think how we as a society view development, equity and the economy. This is a very timely and accessible book that offers clues as to what a sustainable future could look like,” says Bookmark co-owner, Dan MacDonald.

What Really Counts is a firsthand story of the promise and challenges of accounting for social, economic, and environmental benefits and costs. Ronald Colman recounts two decades of working with three governments to adopt measures that more accurately and comprehensively assess true progress. Chronicling his path from Nova Scotia to New Zealand to Bhutan, Colman details the challenge of devising meaningful metrics, the effort to lay the foundations of a new economic system, and the obstacles that stand in the way. Reflecting on successes and failures, he considers how to shift policy priorities from a narrow economic- growth agenda toward a future built on sustainability and equity.

Colman is the founder and former executive director of GPI Atlantic, a nonprofit research group that built an index of well-being and sustainable development in Nova Scotia. He has worked with New Zealand government bodies and communities on measures of well-being and spent ten years in Bhutan assisting the government’s development of holistic progress measures, a new global economic paradigm, and other initiatives.

Link to access the event available by contacting Bookmark at 566-4888 or charlottetown@bookmarkreads.ca.

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