UBC Authors from UBC Press

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

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

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
of the B.C. scene." (A Distinct Region of Canada, p.

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

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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