Friday, 21 May 2010

This Month in Progress

This month there has been quite a flurry of activity in papers and the blogsphere on GDP as an indicator of how well a society is doing. From here we are seeing that the conversation is paused at yes we think that GDP is not a good enough measure to alone measure the well-being of a society; however, it seems that people are wondering what to do about it and how to do it. For example:

The Rise and Fall of GDP article in the New York Times
In this article, Rebecca Blank, the under secretary of commerce for economic affairs, says “But some of the constraint is we don’t have the money to do it. Some of the constraint is we know how to do it, but we need to collect additional data that we don’t currently have. And some of the constraint is that we don’t really know how to do it quite yet.”
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/magazine/16GDP-t.html?pagewanted=5

From the Well-being Index
Americans' wellbeing score climbed to 67.0 in April, the highest level so far in 2010 and tying the all-time high scores found in August 2009 and February 2008 for this measure initiated in January 2008. The April Well-Being Index score is an improvement from the 65.8 in April 2009 and the 66.7 in April 2008.
http://www.gallup.com/poll/128006/Wellbeing-Ties-Highest-Level-Recorded.aspx?utm_source=tagrss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=syndication&utm_term=Well-Being%20Index

Happiness beats GDP Gauge, New Zealand Herald.
The New Zealand Government was "not as committed as others" towards broadening its approach to progress away from GDP, McDonald said. It was also mentioned in the article that A 2008 Euro-barometer poll indicated that more than two-thirds of European Union citizens believed social and environmental indicators should be used, alongside economic measures, to evaluate progress. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10645390

From the Gallup Management Journal
Gallup conducted a comprehensive global study of more than 150 countries. Upon completion of the research, five distinct statistical factors emerged.These elements are the currency of a life that matters . They do not include every nuance of what's important in life, but they do represent five broad categories that are essential to most people:

Career Wellbeing
Social Wellbeing
Financial Wellbeing
Physical Wellbeing
Community Wellbeing

It is reported that while 66% of people are doing well in at least one of these areas, just 7% are thriving in all five.
http://gmj.gallup.com/content/126884/Five-Essential-Elements-Wellbeing.aspx

The Huff Post looks at Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness and askes questions like “How are Americans escaping their lives” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/matthew-anderson/gross-national-happiness_b_579426.html

The Aljazeera Business Blog suggests, “perhaps the next step might be to examine the dominant capitalist mantra of maximising corporate profits and individual wealth at any cost, and the effect that has on economic and social realities”. http://blogs.aljazeera.net/business/2010/05/16/rethinking-gdp

For more articles on progress visit the wikiprogress community portal. http://wikiprogress.org/w/index.php/Community:Portal.
Feel free to suggest other articles to add to the collection.

Its a long weekend here in France.
Off for a little well-being of my own.

Bon week-end
Angela

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