Time to Start Measuring Wellbeing
17 Oct 2007
After tackling the question What is happiness and how do we measureit?’ 1,200 economists, meeting in Istanbul, concluded that the presentway that we measure progress is no longer valid.
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After tackling the question What is happiness and how do we measure it?’ 1,200 economists, meeting in Istanbul, concluded that the present way that we measure progress is no longer valid.
This is no surprise to new economists who long ago realised the inadequacies of current economic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product, GDP, which only measure the amount of economic activity and not whether or not it is desirable activitiy!
‘In the end, what we are trying to do is not just to measure progress and well-being but achieve it,’ said Angel Gurr’a, Secretary General of the OECD, the Organisation for Economic and Cultural Development, which organised the Forum.
‘The key indicators to assess progress would look at such factors as health, education and the environment, as well as economic factors such as employment, productivity and purchasing power.’ Support is growing for a Global Project, Measuring the Progress of Societies and the OECD hopes to stimulate discussion, via the internet, about what progress actually means!
‘This could provide a unique opportunity to improve the ways in which our policies are made and breathe new life into the democratic process,’ said Mr Gurria. Professor Ruut Veenhoven, head of the World Database on Happiness, said, in future, statistics must take into account how happy people are. He has found that the happiest people are the citizens of Denmark.
The New Economics Foundation has also reached the same conclusion in the recently published European update of its Happy Planet Index. It concludes that Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Finland and Sweden do best in terms of life satisfaction.
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