This morning, the BC government launched its new Emerging Economy Task Force. The 14 experts who make up the task force—including myself—have been asked to provide analysis and advice on emerging trends that will shape BC’s economy and society over the coming decades.
This is the first time I’ve had the opportunity to participate in a task force or commission of any kind and I’m excited about it. I’ve always wanted to contribute my knowledge and expertise to make my community a better place—this is why I became an economist in the first place.
Growing up in Bulgaria during the social and economic transition of the 1980s and 1990s, I saw first-hand the human cost of poorly designed economic policies. As a teenager, one of the biggest cultural shocks I experienced was when I came to Canada and saw the extent of homelessness and economic insecurity on the streets of Vancouver. I simply did not expect to find so much poverty in such a wealthy country.
I studied economics because I wanted to understand how the economy works, and help design better economic policies that enable communities to thrive and support people to live with dignity and fully realize their potential.
I feel incredibly privileged to be able to work at the CCPA, where I use my skills to study some of the most pressing economic and social issues facing BC and develop solutions to address them.
I’m particularly excited about the forward-looking mandate of the Emerging Economy Task Force, with its focus on building a more just, inclusive and sustainable economy, given new social, economic and technological trends.
At CCPA, I am able to have an impact on government policy decisions by engaging in public policy debates, and contributing ideas directly to government consultation processes.
Being appointed to serve as a member of a task force is another, more direct way to contribute. I’m particularly excited about the forward-looking mandate of the Emerging Economy Task Force, with its focus on building a more just, inclusive and sustainable economy, given new social, economic and technological trends.
First, it is refreshing to see a government pay attention to trends that will play out over 10 or 25 years. The four-year election cycle encourages short-term thinking and investments that pay off quickly even when much larger benefits could be realized by taking the longer view and investing for the future.
Second, the mandate of this particular task force includes creating recommendations for a longer-term economic development strategy for BC, one that is innovative, diverse and sustainable. A fresh economic approach is desperately needed to replace the previous government’s failed strategy that was narrowly focused on resource extraction industries and LNG.
I am particularly interested in ideas for creating meaningful, sustainable, family-supporting jobs in both rural and urban communities. The future prosperity of our province depends on it.
One thing I’ve learned is that there is no silver bullet for building a just and healthy economy, but that governments can play an important role in steering economic activity to ensure it serves the public interest. A successful strategy must tackle major challenges like climate change and inequality (including regional, income, gender and ethnic/racial inequities).
I look forward to the fascinating conversations we will undoubtedly have through the Emerging Economy Task Force. I expect to learn a lot from my fellow Task Force members, who come from diverse backgrounds and bring different perspectives, and from the engagements and interviews the Task Force will hold across the province over the next few months.
What are your ideas for an innovative, long-term economic strategy for BC? Email me iglika[at]policyalternatives[dot]ca.