Is the U.S. the next country to embrace Gross National Happiness?

Mar 30, 2012 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Foreign Policy

Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a panel of experts in psychology and economics, including Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, began convening in December to try to define reliable measures of 'subjective well-being.' If successful, these could become official statistics.

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“Come Home America!”

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#1
Apr 5, 2012
 

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The Happiness Initiative: My day at the United Nations
happycounts.blogspot.com

"My day at the UN was… spectacular, under-whelming, over-brimming, predictable- a paradox. The Prime Minister of Bhutan talked of a new dawn, the President of Costa Rica talked of the connection between society and the environment (imagine that education and a robust social policy is linked to preservation of the environment...), Vandana Shiva talked about local food systems, and the list goes on: Seligman, Jeffery Sacks, John Helliwell, Enrico Giovanni, Lord Layard, Secretary General Moon of the UN….. and these are only a few of those who spoke…. yet those listening could have filled an agenda in themselves. "

“Come Home America!”

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Apr 12, 2012
 

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Eric Zencey, American philosopher and historian , talks about the need to recreate our economy based on ecological principles . Interview with Eric Zencey - Nationmultimedia.com
By Eric Zencey ... He is the author of Virgin Forest: Meditations on History, Ecology, and Culture ...
www.nationmultimedia.com/2009/08/23/opinion/o... years economists have put together a Consumer Price Index, and it offers useful comparison over years and decades and generations, even though what people choose to consume has changed dramatically from when the CPI was first calculated.(There were no I Phones or fast food back in the 1930s.) The market basket of goods on which CPI is calculated is revised regularly to reflect innovation and changes in tastes and habits. There's no reason to say that a Gross Happiness Index can't be treated similarly. With this approach, the GHI would track changes in a society's level of well-being by offering a snapshot of the level of well-being at any given point...
All of this brings to mind the question of the future of capitalism in driving the world economy. How do you see this evolving? Is the financial crisis pivotal to change we are witnessing?
I've written recently about how this financial crisis is a manifestation of our society's environmental crisis. Briefly: debt is a claim on the economy's ability to produce wealth. We let debt grow astronomically, but the real, physical wealth that that debt is a claim upon can only grow in two ways: by increasing the efficiency with which we use matter and energy from nature, or by using more matter and energy. Increasing the throughput of these resources increases the economy's ecological footprint, and destroys natural capital. At some point, trying to grow the economy through growth in throughput has to hit a limit. When debt grows exponentially but wealth doesn't, eventually some trigger event leads to a spasm of debt repudiation. People who hold debt as an asset�creditors �have to lose some of their assets. Debt repudiation takes a variety of forms: bankruptcy, foreclosure, default, stock market crash, inflation, the disappearance of paper assets in any form. Back in March Larry Summers told an audience at the Brookings Institution that by his count, we have a crisis every 2.3 years, and he allowed that "we've got to do better." We're not going to do better unless we address the underlying cause of these crises of debt repudiation: our system allows debt to grow a lot faster than we can grow the means of paying it back. Ultimately, we'll have to limit growth in debt to the amount that real wealth can grow sustainably.
Policy planners aren't talking about this. They're not talking about debt repudiation as the underlying cause of recurring crisis, and I wish they were. Still, there's reason for hope. There are signs that this downturn-and-recovery is leading us in the direction of a "greener," more ecologically sustainable relationship to the planet. Recovery money spent on building renewable energy and energy conservation infrastructure�wind mills and mass transit and geothermal energy, all of that�is wisely spent. We have it in our power to build a thing never seen before in the quarter-million year history of humans on the planet: an ecologically sustainable society that has a high material standard of living that is widely and equitably shared among the human population. Our present industrial civilization, built on fossil fuel, gives us a high material standard of living that is widely shared�not as widely as many people would like, but more widely than any other previous kind of civilization. The problem is it's not ecologically sustainable. I hope that as we come out of this crisis we build the infrastructure we'll need for such a society. "

“Come Home America!”

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Apr 12, 2012
 

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Eric Zencey, American philosopher and historian , talks about the need to recreate our economy based on ecological principles . Interview with Eric Zencey - Nationmultimedia.com
By Eric Zencey ... He is the author of Virgin Forest: Meditations on History, Ecology, and Culture ...
www.nationmultimedia.com/2009/08/23/opinion/o... years economists have put together a Consumer Price Index, and it offers useful comparison over years and decades and generations, even though what people choose to consume has changed dramatically from when the CPI was first calculated.(There were no I Phones or fast food back in the 1930s.) The market basket of goods on which CPI is calculated is revised regularly to reflect innovation and changes in tastes and habits. There's no reason to say that a Gross Happiness Index can't be treated similarly. With this approach, the GHI would track changes in a society's level of well-being by offering a snapshot of the level of well-being at any given point...
All of this brings to mind the question of the future of capitalism in driving the world economy. How do you see this evolving? Is the financial crisis pivotal to change we are witnessing?
I've written recently about how this financial crisis is a manifestation of our society's environmental crisis. Briefly: debt is a claim on the economy's ability to produce wealth. We let debt grow astronomically, but the real, physical wealth that that debt is a claim upon can only grow in two ways: by increasing the efficiency with which we use matter and energy from nature, or by using more matter and energy. Increasing the throughput of these resources increases the economy's ecological footprint, and destroys natural capital. At some point, trying to grow the economy through growth in throughput has to hit a limit. When debt grows exponentially but wealth doesn't, eventually some trigger event leads to a spasm of debt repudiation. People who hold debt as an asset�creditors �have to lose some of their assets. Debt repudiation takes a variety of forms: bankruptcy, foreclosure, default, stock market crash, inflation, the disappearance of paper assets in any form. Back in March Larry Summers told an audience at the Brookings Institution that by his count, we have a crisis every 2.3 years, and he allowed that "we've got to do better." We're not going to do better unless we address the underlying cause of these crises of debt repudiation: our system allows debt to grow a lot faster than we can grow the means of paying it back. Ultimately, we'll have to limit growth in debt to the amount that real wealth can grow sustainably.
Policy planners aren't talking about this. They're not talking about debt repudiation as the underlying cause of recurring crisis, and I wish they were. Still, there's reason for hope. There are signs that this downturn-and-recovery is leading us in the direction of a "greener," more ecologically sustainable relationship to the planet. Recovery money spent on building renewable energy and energy conservation infrastructure;windmills and mass transit and geothermal energy, all of that;is wisely spent. We have it in our power to build a thing never seen before in the quarter-million year history of humans on the planet: an ecologically sustainable society that has a high material standard of living that is widely and equitably shared among the human population. Our present industrial civilization, built on fossil fuel, gives us a high material standard of living that is widely shared;not as widely as many people would like, but more widely than any other previous kind of civilization. The problem is it's not ecologically sustainable. I hope that as we come out of this crisis we build the infrastructure we'll need for such a society. "
Stratton

Arlington, MA

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Apr 12, 2012
 

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The surest way to reduce Gross National Happiness is to put the government in charge of it.

“Come Home America!”

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Apr 13, 2012
 

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@Stratton, Of course, you are denying that our Government has been in the business of gross national happiness since Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers created the United States. It was long before anyone had heard of GDP that the great Enlightenment thinkers like Jefferson professed "the care of life and happiness is the only legitimate objective of government". And obviously governments have always had some interest in the quality of life—why else do they try to prevent crime, promote health, and so on. But they have not given sufficient weight to that objective. They have given too much weight to wealth-creation compared with many other factors which are more important for human happiness.

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Apr 21, 2012
 

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Sustainability - Intercultural Urbanism
One speaker noted that the touchstone for ... The decision-maker’s bridge to stronger, greener ... latest version of New Urbanism—what founder Andres Duany ...
www.interculturalurbanism.com/... "“Our Degraded Public Realm: The Multiple Failures of Architecture Education”(but see also this piece by David Orr). Goldhagen hit some of the same notes about form, context, and curriculum as Thrift and Christensen et al., including this key money quote:

What do graduate programs in urban design, and especially in architecture, teach? Although they vary from institution to institution, certain commonalities exist. One is that such programs generally give short shrift to the study of sociology of urban and suburban life, leaving students without the knowledge or tools to understand the environments for which they design. As a result, students tend to focus their ideas overwhelmingly on forms, with little informed awareness of how their buildings will contribute to a larger urban composition and to the social existence of communities."
damien

Jakarta, Indonesia

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May 20, 2012
 

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these people are all homo!!
Yolo

Makati, Philippines

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#8
Aug 1, 2012
 
Why is that?

“Come Home America!”

Since: Nov 11

Claymont, Delaware 19809

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#9
Aug 7, 2012
 
Even Ben Bernanke ,Federal Reserve chairman, has come around to accepting the basic tenets of ecological economics ---soon we'll see new genuine progress indicators that measure what is most qualitatively important to us rather than the mere accounting up the commotion of money flows.

If he's serious, he'll support efforts at the Bureau of Economic Analysis to measure wellbeing instead of just GDP.

Ben Bernanke has a question for you: Are you happy?- Economy ...
Ben Bernanke wants to know if you are happy. The Federal Reserve chairman said Monday that gauging happiness can be as important for measuring economic ...
economywatch.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/08/06/131... ...

Since: Aug 12

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#10
Aug 30, 2012
 
Test
Fanta

Bhutan

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#11
Sep 24, 2012
 
It is good contribution for the economist. thank u

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