The economic growth paradigm and GDP, its accompanying measurement tool, have historically dominated development theory and practice. The need to move beyond such an approach, however, is increasingly clear. The recent global economic crisis, the challenge of climate change, on-going overconsumption mirrored by abject poverty, and the increasing role of religion and culture in shaping people’s priorities all suggest that a development paradigm based on unlimited growth is short-sighted, incomplete and, ultimately, unsustainable.
Speaker: Honourable Jigmi Y. Thinley, former Prime Minister of Bhutan.
Focus: What can we learn about moving beyond GDP from Bhutan’s leading edge experience implementing gross national happiness, both in terms of conceptualizing an alternative approach and measuring it.
Beyond GDP: Development Alternatives to Growth will explore alternatives to the growth paradigm that are multidimensional and integrated. How might we move more effectively beyond a sole focus on GDP and growth? Three themes will structure the symposium: conceptualizing development alternatives that are multidimensional, measuring multidimensional approaches at the national and project levels, and implementing multidimensional development initiatives on the ground. Using the experience of Bhutan and it Gross National Happiness strategy as an example of an applied model with demonstrated success, participants will explore how we might better shape sustainable development, both conceptually and practically, in both the Global South and North.
Opening remarks by
The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, OC, OOnt
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario