What is


"Flourishing is not about being in a certain position – it’s about movement with purpose, connectivity, and resilience. Flourishing is active, dynamic, economically secure, but not hierarchical. Flourishing also implies a certain type of self-aware agency that recognizes value in the ups and downs of life, supported by enough economic strength to enable agency...

The goal of flourishing for all both emerges from and promotes cooperative, healthy, and sustainable human traits – the limiting trait when flourishing is the economic and social metric is no longer greed but mutual respect and cooperation... Human dignity - grounded in the inherent autonomy and privacy of all people - is the merit that grounds our right to advance and to flourish. Inalienable dignity is inalienable merit and is marked by respect for our autonomy.

This merit grounds each Canadian's right to flourish: we’re not lobbying to replace a merit-based system of compensation with a non-merit-based system of hand-outs; rather, we aim to replace a non-merit-based system of hand-outs to a lucky few with a merit-based system of respect for the inherent autonomy (dignity) of all."


From Flourishing in Canada: How to Be Capable of Living the Good Life (forthcoming)

Photo: Elizabeth Neill, at Bayfront Park, Hamilton Ontario.


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Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Learning the Facts About Learning: BBC News. Accessed July 20, 2020.
2. See Marilyn Price-Mitchell, “8 Pathways to Every Student’s Success,” at Edutopia, January 7, 2015: 8 Pathways: Edutopia. Accessed July 20, 2020.
3. We would note here, as elsewhere, that resilience is a capability that comes both from within and from one’s social context; although there are insurmountable obstacles to personal resilience for some, it is the responsibility of a nation that supports human dignity to provide the net of resilience that catches even the most vulnerable in this regard.
4. We address this at greater length in the book, forthcoming. But, overall, we acknowledge that there is a wide variety of preferences that are conducive to flourishing. So while there are some obvious preferences that should be discouraged (or illegal, as some are), some others must be deemed a matter of acceptable choice. The acceptability of the malleability of preferences for defining flourishing necessitates that we begin to think of flourishing in complex terms that go beyond meeting a list of fundamental needs and desires to defining a state of mind and the ways it can be achieved in humans.
5. From Andrew Nevin’s doctoral thesis, “A Philosophical Critique of Utility Theory.”
6. Elizabeth Neill, Rites of Privacy and the Privacy Trade: On the Limits if Protection for the Self. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001: p. 120.
7. We have other programs, such as Old Age Security (OAS) that are re-distributive, but the CPP is not like this.
8. Disparities in Life Expectancy at Birth, Statistics Canada. Last modified May 13, 2013. Archive accessed July 25, 2020.
9. “The Futurists: Looking toward A.D. 2000.” Time Magazine. (1966).
10. Of course, many older workers are also affected by this trend, but that’s a discussion for another day.
11. This was of course a key premise behind Margaret Thatcher’s economics in the UK. As the mines were closed (for good economic reasons), other industries would spring up to soak up the excess resources and people. Except they didn’t, at least not in the Northeast of the country.
12. Of course, older workers lose out, too. One key theme of the Flourishing Project is the need to create economic structures to allow working lives to be extended in useful ways that reflect the realities of the needs and wants of older workers, of whom there are are going to more and more in developed economies. As an important note, we also hope to see a basic income that allows flexibility in work and leisure toward a less work-obsessed economy.
13. Brown, Robert M. C. F. C. A. “Debt: The First 5000 Years.” [In English]. Charter 83, no. 3 (April, 2012): 73.
14. Work is central to flourishing, at this time. We envisage a world where one can flourish without work being so central.
15. 2018: OECD Data. Accessed July 29, 2020
16. BBC News explored this in a June, 2014 article by Rob Crossley: Will Workplace Robots Cost More Jobs than They Create? Accessed July 29, 2020.
17. Thomas B Edsell in the New York Times. Accessed on July 29, 2020.
18. For example, in Health: obesity, mental health).
19. Some commentators say the issue is cyclical, that when the global economy recovers, these numbers will readjust and the situation will improve. We disagree. Global economic growth rates are consistently 3-4% (apart from 2008) and it still has not solved this issue. Of course the rate for 2020, in light of Covid-19, is predicted at roughly -4%, with growth returning to more normal levels from 2021, assuming a vaccine and no new pandemics. See World Economic Outlook Reports: A Crisis Like No Other. Accessed July 29, 2020