#006 Redefining Progress

Live panel discussion with Tim Costello, Melissa Weinberg & Mike Salvaris

 
 

Today we’re featuring not one, but a number of special guests from a public conversation Anthony hosted earlier this year, on how we go about the much-needed tasks of redefining our notion of progress - and developing new ways to measure it. The panel was joined by a full house of around 300 people, together generating one of our most compelling public forums to date.

 
A panel event on Redefining Progress, at the 2017 National Sustainable Living Festival, in the heart of Melbourne, Australia. L-R on stage: Anthony James, Mike Salvaris, Melissa Weinberg & Tim Costello. Pic: John Lazzara.

A panel event on Redefining Progress, at the 2017 National Sustainable Living Festival, in the heart of Melbourne, Australia. L-R on stage: Anthony James, Mike Salvaris, Melissa Weinberg & Tim Costello. Pic: John Lazzara.

GDP and growth is all an assumption that humans, by instinct, are profit maximising animals. I say, humans may be that, but even deeper instinct is, we are meaning maximising animals.
— Tim Costello AO
 

Tim Costello AO is Chief Advocate for World Vision and one of Australia’s most recognised voices on social justice, leadership and ethics. Dr Melissa Weinberg is a TEDx Speaker and well-known wellbeing researcher, who led the research for the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index. And Mike Salvaris is co-founder of the OECD Global Progress Research Network, and a driving force behind the development of the Australian National Development Index.

It has long been recognised that Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is an inadequate measure of society’s success and development. Yet it and our focus on economic growth driven by wasteful consumerism persist, despite the range of crises they cause and the growing recognition that limitless consumption doesn’t make for healthy, meaningful human life.

This conversation explores how we can change these flawed narratives, systems and measures, to guide us to a sustainable economy geared towards quality of life, rather than quantity of stuff. Along the way, we learn (or re-learn) plenty about Australia, the world, deeper human nature, and each other. And the sort of probing questions, fascinating findings, and inspiring projects covered here, all offer great grist for the mill for those of us looking to reset our guiding stars of happiness, success and progress.

Is happiness the goal? Does it even work to try to increase our happiness? What makes for a meaningful life, and how do we institute that as the basis of our national accounts? What kind of leadership can we develop to this end? And how do we juggle the need to campaign on specific urgent issues, with the overarching need to address the common source of those issues? The ideas, stories and projects shared in this conversation offer plenty to guide and inspire.

We adopted a fairly snappy format for this forum. After brief introductions you’ll hear each speaker offer a 5-minute ‘fire-starter’. Then we launch into extensive dialogue with the audience.

Production by Ben Moore & Anthony James.


Get more:

Australian National Development Index.

Dr Melissa Weinberg’s website.

World Vision.

Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute (MSSI) at the University of Melbourne, sponsoring partner of this event.

National Sustainable Living Festival, where this forum took place in February 2017, when Anthony was founding Director of The Rescope Project.

The developing New Economy Network of Australia, to be formalised at the upcoming New Economy Conference in September, which will feature Mike Salvaris and Anthony James among many others.

 

Music:

(Nothing But) Flowers, by Talking Heads.

Let Them Know, by the Public Opinion Afro Orchestra.


Thanks to all our supporters & partners for making this podcast possible!