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UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 7 | Jul. 3, 2003

UBC Authors from UBC Press

Globalization and Well-Being

John F. Helliwell

The winner of this year's $25, 000 Donner Prize for the Best Book in Canadian Public Policy was Prof. John F. Helliwell's volume of essays, adapted from lectures he delivered while he was Brenda and David McLean Chair of Canadian Studies. In Globalization and Well-Being, the UBC Professor Emeritus of Economics takes on the thorny question of globalization as it relates to the social and economic well-being of both citizens and nations. It will be of special interest to those thinking about whether Canada should focus on its North American linkages or on building bridges to the broader international community.

If faced with a foreign policy choice between a globally oriented policy and one that has its primary focus on continuing efforts to harmonize policies with those in the United States, I think that the decision is obvious. Given the evidence I have reviewed, the latter policy is likely to represent bad economics and bad politics. North America is destined, through the joint forces of demography and catch-up, to be a smaller and smaller share of the world economy. To focus emphasis on the smaller part of the global pie may seem attractive during booming times in the United States economy, but would be a short-sighted strategy. Fortunately, it is possible for Canada to maintain a balanced set of foreign polices that is in accord with the facts and opportunities of global markets, has a suitably broad view of the world and its needs, and still deals in a timely and consistent way with bilateral relations between this country and the United States." (Combining National and Global Well-being, p. 86)

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The Politics of Resentment: British Columbia Regionalism and Canadian Unity

Philip Resnick

This is the first book to examine the role that British Columbia has played in the evolving Canadian unity debate. UBC Political Science Professor Philip Resnick looks at the views of politicians, opinion-makers, and ordinary British Columbians on the challenges that were posed by Quebec nationalism since the Quiet Revolution, on their sense of estrangement from central Canada, and on what they see as the future of Canadian unity. The Politics of Resentment draws on a wide range of sources -- from government documents and from the media, to the work of B.C. authors and commentators, to the academic literature on regionalism and nationalism -- to capture what underlies the often fractured relationship between Canada's westernmost province and the rest of the country.

Individualism, and with it conflicting rather than overarching communal values, is the dominant characteristic of B.C.'s inhabitants. As Jean Bethke Elshtain has pointed out with reference to the United States, identity politics or what is sometimes called the politics of difference makes the forging of any sense of shared community more difficult. The same would certainly hold true for B.C.. For his part, Charles Taylor talks about the need for "horizons of shared significance" in modern societies riven by the ethos of "doing your own thing." By this standard, B.C. society is recognizably less communitarian or community-minded than Quebec's.

In much the same way, one can see B.C. regionalism as a product partly of continuity, partly of invention; with a navel invented for it by the propagandists of B.C. regionalism in our own day, as by their predecessors in an earlier one. Yet not all is contrived: there is a genuine sense of regional distinctiveness to British Columbia, flowing from its geographical position, its resource economy, its historical development, and its idiosyncratic political traditions. There is a sense of estrangement from central Canada that can be channelled into a politics of resentment. There is the sense of a hybrid community continuously in the making -- more oriented to the present and the future than to the past -- that strikes even the casual observer of the B.C. scene." (A Distinct Region of Canada, p. 20)

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Wired to the World, Chained to the Home: Telework in Daily Life

Penny Gurstein

Penny Gurstein, associate professor at the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning and Chair of the Centre for Human Settlements, explores the myths and realities of home-based employment and addresses the more pressing questions related to the new trend of working from home.

Gurstein combines a background in planning, sociology of work, and feminist theory with data from 10 years of original research, including in-depth interviews and surveys, to understand the impact of home-based work on daily life patterns. She analyzes the experiences of employees, independent contractors, and self-employed entrepreneurs to present significant findings on the workload, mobility, and tensions involved in combining work and domestic activities in the same setting.

Home-based work is not a return to an utopian time when family and work responsibilities were intermingled. Historically, that idyllic life existed for only a very few. For the rest, work based at home meant constant work for every member of the family, with little free time. This is also the experience for most present-day homeworkers; women in particular rarely have leisure time. Work is spread out over most of the day, resulting in less time for other activities. This raises the issue of what "flexibility" really entails. While telework appears to increase productivity and in some circumstances allows work to be combined with other activities, it also results in role conflicts, inadequate workspaces, the blurring of the work/leisure time division, and an increased tendency for "overwork." The home can be unsuitable as a workplace for many people because of spatial constraints and the lack of social contacts. Homework inhibits face-to-face interactions, resulting in social isolation. Coupled with isolation is the feeling of being "invisible" to fellow workers, friends, and family who don't perceive teleworkers as really working. Home-based employees feel disassociated from the corporate culture and their opportunities for advancement are curtailed. Many employees are not self-motivators and cannot cope with managing their home and work responsibilities in the same environment." (Conclusion, p. 201)

Compiled by Cristina Calboreanu with information supplied by UBC Press.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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