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By shifting how we measure economic health we will create a more integrated and collaborative global economy. From GDP to Global Eco-Metrcs.



Executive summary

Global Eco-Metrics delivers a platform for individuals, organizations, communities, and nations to accurately assess their economic well-being. Genuine Progress Indicators are well researched mechanisms that factor wholistic well-being of people, regions, and social systems into the conventional neo-classical economic growth indicators such as GDP. Much of the current global economic turmoil is a function of the neo-classical economic assumption that infinite growth is possible within near finite systems, and our conventional economic metrics are relics of the Industrial Age. Global Eco-Metrics provides a scalable value assessment tool for individuals, organizations, communities, regions and nations that demonstrate the fundamental value of personal health, access to clean air and water, quality of life and genuine happiness.

With a online survey and mobile application with universal accessibility modelled after the Happy Planet Index, Global Eco-Metrics will provide a GEM Score for individuals, organizations, communities, regions and nations. With an associated social marketing campaign Global Eco-Metrics can redefine how value is assessed. A lower carbon footprint increases the GEM Score and accurately reflects social and ecological well-being at all levels. Conventional economic indicators based on growth and essentially credit do accurately demonstrate access to essential aspects for living (shelter, food, education) and amenities and also contribute to the GEM Score yet are balanced by ecological and social impacts.

A portion of Global Eco-Metric Scores will be open to a free-market exchange that will translate into tangible economic adaptations that will invigorate local economies at all scales - from individual exchanges to neighborhood markets to regional a national trade. With the inevitable steady increase in energy costs, localization of consumption, production, and trade is essential. By shifting the mechanisms for assessing economic health, we can shape a green economy for the 21st century.


Lee White writes the worldbliss blog and is the author of "rapt in awe" which contains a chapter titled "Climate Change as a Collective Opportunity". As a Climate Action Consultant Lee has faciliated Community Engagement processes for British Columbia's Climate Action Secretariat, and continues to work with applications for broader climate change adaptation.


Global Eco-Metrics will firstly stimulate appreciable reductions in consumptive habits in developed nation, propogating the transition to a more localized economies. Rapidly developing nations will demonstrate favourable GEM Scores and also stimulate green economic development with localized market economies and cottage industry production. The least developed nations will receive a market boost from the low consumptive habits due to marginal access. By transforming how value is assessed, the global economy will functionally integrate localized modes of exchange that promote ecologically balanced living and socially just conduct. 

Whether on a individual, organizational, community, regional, national, or international scale, the Global Eco-Metric exchange markets will balance conventional growth productivity with sustainable practices modelled after the symbiotic exchanges of ecosystems. Global Eco-Metrics are an evolved model for economic market exchanges that transcend the limited constructs of the mechanical metaphor of neo-classical economics. The Global Eco-Metric markets will reflect how forests sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and generate oxygen whereas our conventional growth based economic metrics such as GDP and an individuals "total worth" are a conceptual product of the Industrial era.

With a multifaceted survey tool that has ranking factors from other agents much like contemporary social network applications, the Global Eco-Metric Score will increase to reflect the more ecologically sound and socially responsible any individual, or collective conducts themselves. For instance an individual that produces considerable food for local consumption would receive high ranking GEM Scores that in turn retain a market value. This individual can exchange portions of this merit scale with other individuals or organizations to acquire other products or services as a complimentary financial instrument. This can be scaled to companies, communities, and countries as well. 

The priviledge of access to profound resources within the developed nations, as well as to more limited sectors within developing nations, reflects how the accumulation of wealth only extends to happiness in terms of access to opportunities. The affluent are afflicted with existential quandaries as well, though not has pressured to meet the basic needs for the constituents of life. Close examination of happiness reflects that humans are truly meaning seeking beings. Global Eco-Metrics are a measure of meaning. Many people will work hard their entire lives foresaking meaningful moments with family, friends, and both personal and spiritual development, to realize that the accumulation of GDP and it individual equivalents is empty. As a collective humanity with a truly amazing global infrastructure, we have reached a macro scale shared crisis through climate change. 

Global Eco-Metrics provides simple tools with universal access that merge the power of global social networks with micro-loan mechanisms to stimulate local green economies globally. In the wake of global economic instability when whole monetary systems are on the verge of critical collapse, Global Eco-Metrics can create a good news story of how groups of people can innovate immediate localized solutions to the complex challenges presented by the climate crisis. Global Eco-Metrics is a catalyst for community resilience and a universal instrument of hope.

Why: Rationale for the proposal

Global Eco-Metrics provide a direct mechanism to redefine economic well-being at multiple scales. Individuals and collectives can positively quantify conscious choices to reduce their carbon footprint and make quality of life decisions in balance with conventional measures of productivity. By moving away from the mechanistic growth of neo-classical economics, value systems will be ratified by ecological and socially responsible behaviours and decisions integrated into the Global Eco-Mectrics.

Many of the environmentally and socially destructive bevaviours, whether individual or as a collective institution, are based on Industrial growth systems. Many of the positive developments within neo-classical economics, which remains the prevalent frame of reference for economic thought, contribute to a base assumption that growth is the fundamental indicator and thereby "good". The advantage of a more comprehensive system such as the Global Eco-Metrics is that activites which are growth based yet deter from ecological or social well-being become subtractors to the instrument used to measure value. Currently the GDP goes up with carbon emissions, destructive development, and even human or natural catastrophe and there are no mechanisms to discern what is healthy from what is degenerative. 

The net effect of Global Eco-Metrics will stimulate local exchange markets that will radically shift consumptive behaviours toward more sustainable levels. This will subsequently foster community and regionally based exchange markets for barter and trade that will built more resilient and adaptive economic networks. This will better resemble the markets that Adam Smith envisioned in The Wealth of Nations.

How: Feasibility of proposal

Global Eco-Metrics is membership based with no cost to join. It is a free-market entity that will operate parallel and complimentary to conventional financial markets. The credibility of Global Eco-Metrics will be built on transparency and ubiquity. An open source architechture will moderated by a democratically elected committee to ensure that the hive mind can usher in the collective intelligence of all engaged stakeholders.

The modest development costs for the beta application can be seeded by intersted parties intrigued by the proposal. The greater cost will require corporate sponsorship to launch the social marketing campaign to popularize the application and circulate its use. The utility of the application will need to define its own merit by viral distribution and subsequent open source development. 

Since Global Eco-Metrics do not compete with financial markets but rather compliment them, the social network that is exchanging ecologically sound and socially responsible will build the system with "sweat equity" and social capital.

The intrinsic value of carbon sequestration will bolder REDD markets in developing nations and increase the viability of carbon markets in regional markets and globally. The fundamental shift in value measures will lead to reductions in carbon emissions such that emission rates will not increase appreciably. 

Green energy and sustainable technologies will demonstrate very high value ranking with Global Eco-Metrics, which much like feed-in tarifs and emergent carbon markets will support further development. With a considerable emphaisis to appropriately scaled technologies whereby individual dwellings and buildings are optimized for both energy efficiency and production. By reducing the depency on extensive energy transmission and demonstraing the GEM SCore value of localized micro-energy production, local economies will be transformed.

As referenced above, the instramental tool for the widespread proliferation of Global Eco-Metrics is universal social marketing which will require political will and support in most jurisdictions. This is widespread education to encourage the uptake, yet the Global Eco-Metric application in itself is a subtle educational tool to support humna development and conscious evolution. Both media buzz and socially responsible corporate sponsorship will aid in the uptake an.

One risk is the lack of access to mobile devices and internet access in developing nations and the political entities and NGOs functioning in such environemtns will be intrumental in supporting universal access. the merits of an increased National GEM Score will provide viable market options for such developing nations that will emulate the conservation value of REDD protected areas and the socially constructive benefits of micro-finance. 

Vision of the future under this proposal

Massive consumption reductions will make people happier. The localization of production will create artisan market economies that provide a sustainable living for the constituents as well as a sense of meaning and community belonging reminiscent of the Agrarian era. Global Eco-Metrics reflect perennial insight into human well-being and legitimize this awareness into a universal system of exchange. 

Global Eco-Metrics provides a structured yet dynamic framework for ongoing development for all individuals and agencies built on the symbiotic systems of ecosystems. By transcending the structural limitations of neo-classical economic thought and the associated organizational and political systems, Global Eco-Metrics will transform the world.