I came across this recent article in the New York Times about Happynomics and wanted to share it here. I am very excited to see what the British are doing! They are trying to look beyond GDP as a measure of prosperity and look more at the overall wellbeing and happiness of society. They are calling it their “National Happiness Index.” Such proposals and indices already exist. For example, in 1972 Bhutan came up with a Gross National Happiness concept. The New Economics Foundation created a Happy Planet Index in 2006. Several universities and other organizations have also created happiness indices.
What is significant about this is, in some way, the change in priority. Most industrialized nations seek to continue increasing the GDP at whatever cost necessary. When there is 2% annual growth, the stock market performs, people are optimistic about their careers and futures, and life is “good.” The measure of GDP is purely a top-down approach and happiness is inferred from the stability economic growth affords. But this new initiative from the British seeks to see measure a country’s happiness and wellbeing from the ground up.
I think the results of such a survey will rattle a few feathers. I really hope that it gets a dialog started that spreads to other countries about setting national policies that seek to maximize opportunities for happiness instead of only seeking to maximize economic growth. Surely economic growth is important, and economic growth does not necessarily come at the expense of happiness, but approaching national problems from another angle could help benefit the population and planet more.
You can read the full article here:
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