May 21, 2013 at 1:30 am #88647
So interesting discussion of the UN Happiness Day thing…. I’ve had this problem with the Happiness people… the problem is branding.. So – the whole UN thing emerged out of work done in the international justice and development communities as well as economic thinkers here -like the group Redefining Progress. The thing they are trying to do is take focus away from meausures like GDP to a more accurate measure of success.
GDP adds things like cancer treatment and car crashes into the economic bottom line of a country. In that sense it only measures economic flow..it’s not really an indicator of anything other than money changing hands. Clearly not a measuring the right things. The Genuine Progress Indicator – measures things like education level, infant mortality rate and a long list of other metrics which give us a much more human and humane thing to measure our work against…
The movement towards measurements like GPI are unfortunately labelled “happiness” measures – and the “Happiness Movement” is about choosing to ad measures that really matter to our assesments and measures. So that we know REALLY what and how we are doing.
Traditionally a country with a high cancer rate – spending a ton on heathcare – will measure a high GDP with all that cancer treatment…but that’s not a measure of national success in anything other than a monetary exchange framing.
So my thing with all these initiatives is “Happiness” is a a REALLY bad term for what they are trying to do – which is create real metrics for competition among coountries with regards to the general well being of their citizens.
A nation with a genuinely high GPI would have significantly good numbers along these lines:
low incidence of cancer
low incidence of suicide
low incidence of asthma
The US does not score well on any of these factors by the way.
I am with Elon on the problem with the term “happiness”…. Happiness is a mood – it comes and goes. Well-being however is the ground upon which one can build creatively…
Some info on GPI:
And the Kingdom of Bhutan is the first place that started taking these measures seriously – as much better indicators of prosperity than GDP.
SO yes…Elon -Happiness is stupid. GPI is not!
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.