I don’t know if any of you have picked up on yesterday’s story in the Guardian – the government are considering measuring the nation’s happiness and well-being alongside conventional statistics like GDP, etc. to track how well the country is doing.
I’m not sure yet what relevance this has to my next OU assignment (outline who are the winners and losers in a consumer society), but it’s quite interesting that the government should consider this at a time when people’s incomes are likely to stagnate for a few years.
You can read the article here http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/nov/14/happiness-index-britain-national-mood
Learn more about the types of questions likely to be asked in the ‘happiness index’ survey here http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/nov/15/happiness-index-government-questions
The Happy Planet Index here http://www.happyplanetindex.org/
What the government are likely to measure here http://www.nationalaccountsofwellbeing.org/
And see how well we currently compare with the rest of Europe here http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/nov/15/happiness-index-wellbeing-nef
Oh, another thing. I’ve just started reading an interesting book which expands on issues touched upon in the above studies -‘ The Spirit Level. Why equality is better for everyone.’ It’s written by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.
The main thrust of the book’s arguments (from what I’ve read so far) is that there are limits to the benefits of pursuing growth (in an economic sense). It gives a good example of how in the UK we have seen the economy grow, with GDP rising, yet the income gap is wider. This has created greater inequality in our society causing many of the problems we face today, such as mental health, educational performance, etc.