Genuine wealth development projects

Reflecting on the results of a Genuine Wealth Assessment, households, businesses and decision makers can then plan to invest their time, money and other resources in actions and projects that will sustain or improve the genuine wealth of the community. Projects should improve the conditions of well-being of the community as a whole; they will improve the state of the community's balance sheet and build real assets. A direct budget link needs to be made between any proposed project and the Genuine Wealth Balance Sheet so that real returns to improved well-being can be accurately accounted for and reported. We might call this genuine well-being budgeting.

All of these strategies imply commitment to full cost and benefit accounting. Full cost accounting refers to a process of collecting and presenting information, costs as well as advantages or benefits, for various alternative decisions. Costs and advantages can be measured in terms of environmental, economical and social impacts; these can be both tangible and intangible. The US and Alberta GPI projects used full cost accounting at an economy-wide scale. Other examples of full cost accounting at the policy level are examining the full social, economic and environmental costs of auto crashes to a community or analyzing the full value of recycling programs. Full cost accounting provides critical information for more informed decision making.

The Genuine Wealth process is a life-cycle of designing-building-operating communities focused on improving their overall well-being. One can repeat the process on a regular (e.g. annual or biennial) basis tied to existing planning processes like strategic business planning or long-range municipal development planning. The process could also become key in the political process by providing newly elected governments with a baseline well-being profile against which they could monitor their progress from one election to the next. A Genuine Wealth Assessment provides a unique, comprehensive and high-level perspective on a community's overall well-being which other planning processes tend to lack. I call this taking a 30,000 foot aerial perspective on a community. The process becomes one of sustainable Genuine Wealth management.

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