Time to leave GDP behind

Great article from Nature on how it's time to drop the Gross Domestic Product as a measure of success and adopt a new metric.

"GDP measures mainly market transactions. It ignores social costs, environmental impacts and income inequality. If a business used GDP-style accounting, it would aim to maximize gross revenue — even at the expense of profitability, efficiency, sustainability or flexibility. That is hardly smart or sustainable (think Enron). Yet since the end of the Second World War, promoting GDP growth has remained the primary national policy goal in almost every country"

 

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How poverty is killing us

John Millar and Laurel Rothman for iPolitics.ca on how poverty affects the health of us all, with those living in poverty bearing the brunt of it.

"Here’s what the evidence tells us. The stress of worrying about the basics of life lowers the body’s defences against disease. As a result, we see a higher and increasing prevalence of all diseases (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, lung disease, mental illness, addictions and others) among those who are worst-off, right across the income gradient."

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The majority of Ontario residents think poverty—and privilege—are contributing to ill health

Good news: a recent study by Toronto's Centre for Research on Inner-City Health finds that the majority of Ontario residents correctly believe that poverty is a major contributor to ill health.

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Coalition launches campaign to reduce Sask. poverty

By Jason Warick, The StarPhoenix

Poverty doesn't just hurt those who experience it. Poverty places a huge burden on the province's health care, education and justice systems.

Reducing poverty could save Saskatchewan taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year and give a multi billion dollar boost to the economy.

That's the main message from a coalition of Saskatchewan community groups launching their "Cost of Poverty" campaign today.

"We want this province to be a prosperous place for everyone," said Alison Robertson, director of community development for the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre.

Continue reading at www.thestarphoenix.com.

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No room for shaming in public health system

In a recent article, Nova Scotia’s Health Minister, Leo Glavine, floated the idea that people should have to demonstrate healthy lifestyles before accessing our health care system, much like a bank assesses a customer for a loan.

Sadly, this is not a new idea but has been floated by others pundits and politicos over the years, often couched in the language of practicality and common sense. Healthcare is a privilege to be earned, not a right, they lobby.

Healthcare just for the healthy, in other words. Here’s why such an idea would fail — for all of us.

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Alternative Federal Budget 2014: Striking a Better Balance

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The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives presents an alternative federal budget, one that "shows what the federal government could do if it decided to seriously address Canadians’ largest social, economic, and environmental concerns." 

What do you think we should be focusing on? 

Read the CCPA's Alternative Budget report.

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Why racism is a public health issue

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Ranking among the social determinants of health are issues of equality and diversity. Your experience of inequality, because of things like gender, race, and sexual orientation, can have a serious impact on your health outcomes. 

This article, set in an American context, argues that racism is at the core of health disparities in African American populations. How do you think this relate to health inequity here in Canada?

Read "Why racism is a public health issue" at ThinkProgress.

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Better daycare for $7/day: One province's solution for Canada

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Via The Globe and Mail.

"Quebec’s program is about more than just affordable daily care. It is a wildly ambitious experiment in society-building – a controversial $2.2-billion bet that better daycare can not only transform child development but also vastly improve the prospects of women and the poor, and build a better labour force."

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Child care: Why Canada needs to do better at helping all families

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Via The Globe and Mail.

As economists, historians and child-development experts have convincingly argued, a family policy that includes affordable, accessible child care is not only a crucial ingredient for a healthy economy in an aging nation banking on the talents – and taxes – of the next generation. It makes society more equal by supporting poor families."

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What the world can teach Canada about building better daycare

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Via The Globe and Mail.

"If Canada really wants to help its families juggle work and kids – and rescue them from a child-care system defined by wait lists, poor quality and fees as high as mortgage payments – the country can borrow from the best, Sweden, where daycare is part of a full childhood, not just somewhere to park the kids when heading to work."

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