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Since the financial crisis, there has been an increased interest in moving away from GDP and wealth as measures of national and individual performance. Instead, more explicit attention is being paid to wellbeing around the world, and how it can be promoted at individual, local, national and international levels. This free online course will help you engage constructively in the wellbeing movement, and use wellbeing considerations to make important transformations to your work and your ways of planning, learning and justifying your decisions.
TOWARDS A REGENERATIVE ECONOMY - A report for The Capital Institute by John Fullerton April 2015 It is our view that the exponential growth of compound investment returns demanded by the financial system is in irreconcilable conflict with the finite boundaries of the biosphere. We believe this relentless and narrow pursuit of exponential growth of returns on financial capital, without reference to either the laws of science or to universally acknowledged moral and ethical values, is contributing to an ever-widening and destabilizing wealth gap, and security crises around the globe. Our mission is to provide a new theory grounded in real-world practice and accompanying narrative of the supportive, non-coercive role finance must play in the transition to a Regenerative Economy, an economy that harmonizes the multiple kinds of capital essential to human and planetary well-being. A multitude of innovators and entrepreneurs around the world are experimenting with practical ways to reimagine capitalism so that it works for all levels of society, as well as for the planet. Their common goal is to create a self-organizing, naturally self-maintaining, highly adaptive Regenerative form of capitalism that produces lasting social and economic vitality for global civilization as a whole. Over the last two years, Capital Institute has been working with many of these thought leaders and entrepreneurs in a quest to understand what a theoretical framework for regenerative economies would look like, and what conditions and processes contribute to their long-term systemic health. The report also explores how a Regenerative Economy would differ from today’s flawed theory of capitalism, and how it would compare to other New Economy ideas such as natural capitalism, sustainable capitalism, conscious capitalism, doughnut economics, circular economies, sharing economies, steady-state economies, etc. Our Regenerative story starts with a single core idea , "The universal patterns and principles the cosmos uses to build stable, healthy, and sustainable systems throughout the real world can and must be used as a model for economic system design"
While GDP became during the past century a recognized measure for a countries well-being, recent years have demonstrated that the level of true happiness in a country disconnects from its economic development -- having reached a certain minimum threshold. Long before research has confirmed this fact by empiric science, the King of Bhutan has concentrated the entire political focus of the country on a measure called "Gross National Happiness" (GNH). While this model has entered global political discussion in recent years, it has not yet managed to enter the economic world. The concept of "Gross Corporate Happiness" (GCH) is an attempt to transfer the Bhutan model into the corporate world, where the true idea of man has yet been completely ignored in traditional economic teachings. In a world where material Economic Growth is reaching the limits of the planet and motivation of employees through material benefits has lead to a wide frustration of individuals with work life, this concept of "GCH" intends to offer alternative roadway to human development
Geographies of Human Wellbeing explores the nature of wellbeing using indicators and online data analysed using a variety of ICT and mapping techniques. Sections in the resource cover the following: 1. What is human wellbeing? Looks at definitions of human wellbeing and the different ways it can be measured. 2. The wellbeing of women and girls Focusses on gender inequality, Millennium Development Goals. Skill development focuses on using Gapminder and reading and interpreting scatter graphs. Case study: educating rural women and girls in China 3. Population and poverty Uses India as a case study. Skill development reading and constructing population pyramids and drawing choropleth maps. 4. Disease – HIV AIDS Includes reading, interpreting statistics and creating graphs from the data. Global maps to show how HIV AIDS distribution has changed over time. It also includes an extensive GIS activity based on HIV AIDS data. 5. Human wellbing student inquiry Using the inquiry process and the skill development from the previous sections, this section shows students how to undertake their own inquiry about another aspect of human wellbeing. "
Much of the writing on a post-growth world is about economics. In this exciting and ground-breaking short essay Andrew Dobson considers the implications of the end of growth for politics. Dobson, Professor of Politics at Keele University argues that if the end of growth is to be planned, rather than unplanned and catastrophic, we need now to get onto a trajectory for a benign post-growth world. And that trajectory has six crucial pre-conditions: equality, democracy, a vibrant public sphere, localisation, feminism and the idea and practice of enough.
Today, there is a global movement toward the direct measurement and improvement of well-being, pioneered by Gallup and Healthways. This is an endeavor in which Gallup and Healthways have been leaders, providing innovative measures, for the U.S. as well as for most of the countries and most of the people of the world. This report, State of Global Well-Being, is the latest milestone in their work. Measurements of national performance have for too long focused on income — gross domestic product (GDP) and its components — but such measures are much too narrow. Income is certainly important to people — and the growth of incomes over the last 250 years has been one of the greatest achievements of humankind — but it is not the only thing that matters. People can have low well-being and high income, and conversely high well-being and low income. Income is not worth much without health to enjoy it, and good health is a blessing in and of itself, allowing people to live a full and worthwhile life. A good education is not only a vital requirement to do well in life, but it brings its own joys and a richer life in many dimensions. People enjoy contributing meaningfully to the betterment of civil society. The absence of the fear of war and violence, something that was rarely enjoyed by people’s ancestors, also contributes to high well-being. When we ask people to think about how their lives are going, to report on their daily emotions, and to tell us about their health, we gain a much broader picture of their well-being than can be inferred from traditional economic surveys.
Nic Marks thinks quality of life is measurable. Pioneer in the field of well-being research, he creates statistical methods to measure happiness, analyzing and interpreting the evidence so that it can be applied to such policy fields as education, sustainable development, healthcare, and economics. Founder of the Centre for Well-Being, an independent think tank at the New Economics Foundation (NEF), in London, Marks is particularly keen to promote a balance between sustainable development and quality of life. To investigate this, he devised the Happy Planet Index, a global index of human well-being and environ- mental impact. Ragnhild Bang Nes is a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (Oslo) and is focused on finding out the role of the environment regarding our personal happiness and general well-being.
Is economic growth always a good thing? Why are people in countries like the US and UK not happier or working fewer hours when GDP has tripled since 1950? Dan O'Neill's thought-provoking...
A movement is emerging in many places, under many guises: New Economy (or Economies), Regenerative Economy, Solidarity Economy, Next Economy, Caring Economy, Sharing Economy, Thriving Resilience, Community Resilience, Community Economics, Oppositional Economy, High Road Economy, and other names. It’s a movement to replace the default economy of excess, control, and exploitation with a new economy based on respecting biophysical constraints, preferring decentralization, and supporting mutuality. This movement is a sign of the growing recognition that what often are seen as separate movements—environment, social justice, labor, democracy, indigenous rights—are all deeply interconnected, particularly in the way that the current economic system is a root cause of much that they seek to change.
This is the eighth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI), which ranks nations according to their level of peace. The Index is composed of 22 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources and ranks 162 independent states, covering 99.6 percent of the world’s population. The index gauges global peace using three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or international conflict; and the degree of militarisation. In addition to presenting the findings from the 2014 GPI and its seven-year trend analysis, this year’s report includes an updated analysis of the economic impact of violence as well as a detailed assessment of country risk using risk models developed by IEP based on its unique datasets.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Wellbeing Economics is made up of politicians from all major political parties. It was set up to: • Provide a forum for discussion of wellbeing issues and public policy in Parliament; • promote enhancement of wellbeing as an important government goal; • encourage the adoption of wellbeing indicators as complimentary measures of progress to GDP; • and promote policies designed to enhance wellbeing. The group’s officers are David Lammy MP (Chair), Baroness Claire Tyler (Vice-chair), Dr Julian Huppert MP (Vice-chair), Helen Goodman MP (Treasurer) and Caroline Lucas MP (Secretary). The New Economics Foundation (NEF) acts as secretariat for the group. This report is the result of a year-long inquiry by the cross-party group of MPs exploring how wellbeing evidence can be translated into policy in four diverse areas: labour markets, planning and transport, mindfulness in health and education, and arts and culture. It calls for more focus on stable employment as opposed to economic growth, and stresses that in tough economic times it is all the more vital that we remain focussed on building a high wellbeing recovery.
The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 requires housing providers to consider their social impact in procurement and commissioning and, increasingly, public sector bodies will expect their partners to evidence the value they create. Existing approaches to measuring social value can be a poor fit for housing providers, whose work usually includes a wide range of community-focused investment as well as investment into bricks and mortar. In response, HACT has been working with social value experts and leading housing providers to develop approaches and tools to equip the sector to meet this challenge. Since 2011, HACT has been working with Daniel Fujiwara, a leading expert on social impact valuation. Daniel’s work is based on Wellbeing Valuation (WV) theory, the latest thinking in social impact measurement and an approach he helped develop for government.
The 2014 Human Development Report “Sustaining Human Progress: Reducing Vulnerabilities and Building Resilience” - shows that overall global trends in human development are positive. Yet, people at all ages are also facing threats and challenges to their wellbeing, including by natural or human-induced disasters and crises. While every individual and society is vulnerable to risk, some suffer far less harm and recover more quickly than others when adversity strikes. The Report asks why that is and considers vulnerability and resilience through a human development lens. The Report takes a people-centred approach. It identifies the ‘structurally vulnerable’ groups of people who are more vulnerable than others by virtue of their history or of their unequal treatment by the rest of society. Based on analysis of the available evidence, the Report makes a number of important recommendations for achieving a world which addresses vulnerabilities and builds resilience to future shocks. It calls for universal access to basic social services, especially health and education; stronger social protection, including unemployment insurance and pensions; and a commitment to full employment, recognizing that the value of employment extends far beyond the income it generates.
The kingdom of Bhutan is honoured to offer this report as a contribution to the growing global conversation on a transformative post-2015 development agenda. The report is inspired by Bhutan’s development approach based on the philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH) and proposes a New Development Paradigm with societal happiness as its guiding vision. Such a holistic view of development has the potential to transform humanity’s relationship with nature, restructure our economies, change our attitudes to food and wealth, and promote caring, altruism, inclusiveness and cooperation. In the new paradigm, genuine happiness is understood to arise from a deep abiding sense of harmony with the natural world, of compassion, contentment and joy. It also acknowledges that basic needs like clean air and water, good health, decent living conditions, knowledge, peace, security and justice, meaningful relationships and other dimensions of wellbeing are essential preconditions for human beings to flourish and achieve true happiness. The new development framework presented is not intended to be dogmatic or static. Rather, Bhutan wished to contribute to the search for a genuinely different paradigm – a process that will require exploration of unorthodox approaches that challenge the fundamentals of the current paradigm in search of a better way to live and flourish on our planet. This new paradigm is envisioned to emerge and evolve through a dynamic process of global conversation, participation and constant feedback.
This second edition of How’s Life? provides an update on the most important aspects that shape people’s lives and well-being: income, jobs, housing, health, work-life balance, education, social connections, civic engagement and governance, environment, personal security and subjective well-being.
Diego Isabel La Moneda explains The Economy for the Common Good, an interesting new business and economic movement coming from Austria. The idea is simple -- the economic system and the enterprises operating within in should be oriented toward benefiting the common good. The ECG programme outlines practical steps for business, and eventually, governments to make this happen. Over 1400 partner companies in Austria, Germany Switzerland and Spain have joined this budding network. Will this work in the UK? In Totnes? Click to watch and find out. This talk was organised by Network Of Wellbeing, Schumacher College and Transition Town Totnes REconomy Project.
The Center of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the International Youth Foundation (IYF) have released a groundbreaking tool, The Global Youth Wellbeing Index, which measures and compares the quality of life for youth in 30 countries. Representing nearly 70 percent of the world’s youth population, the Index measures wellbeing in six domains: citizen participation; economic opportunity; education; health; information and communications technology; and safety and security. The Index is the first of its kind to gather and connect youth-related data to assess and compare the state of young people around the world. It will help policy, society, and business leaders collectively make smarter investments in youth programming, encourage a coordinated approach to planning policies, and help elevate youth issues to the top of the global agenda. Although youth ages 10 to 24 comprise a quarter of the global population, they remain an underutilized source of innovation, energy, and enthusiasm. In fact, nearly half of the youth worldwide are under- or un-employed. Yet, at a time when policy and investment decisions to address these challenges are increasingly data driven, existing data on youth development and wellbeing are often fragmented, inconsistent, or nonexistent.
Over the last half century, economic growth has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty and improved the lives of many more. Yet it is increasingly evident that a model of development based on economic development alone is incomplete. A society which fails to address basic human needs, equip citizens to improve their quality of life, erodes the environment, and limits opportunity for its citizens is not succeeding. Economic growth without social progress results in lack of inclusion, discontent, and social unrest. A broader and more inclusive model of development requires new metrics with which policymakers and citizens can evaluate national performance. We must move beyond simply measuring Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, and make social and environmental measurement integral to national performance measurement. Tracking social and environmental performance rigorously will inform and drive improvement in policy choices and investments by all stakeholders. Measuring social progress will also help to better translate economic gains into better social and environmental performance, which will unleash even greater economic success. The Social Progress Index aims to meet this pressing need by creating a holistic and robust measurement framework for national social and environmental performance that can be used by leaders in government, business and civil society at the country level as a tool to benchmark success, improve policy, and catalyze action. Our vision is a world in which social progress sits alongside economic prosperity as the twin scorecards of success.
Being able to measure people’s quality of life is fundamental when assessing the progress of societies. There is now widespread acknowledgement that measuring subjective well-being is an essential part of measuring quality of life alongside other social and economic dimensions. As a first step to improving the measures of quality of life, the OECD has produced Guidelines which provide advice on the collection and use of measures of subjective well-being. These Guidelines have been produced as part of the OECD Better Life Initiative, a pioneering project launched in 2011, with the objective to measure society’s progress across eleven domains of well-being, ranging from jobs, health and housing, through to civic engagement and the environment. These Guidelines represent the first attempt to provide international recommendations on collecting, publishing, and analysing subjective well-being data. They provide guidance on collecting information on people's evaluations and experiences of life, as well as on collecting "eudaimonic" measures of psychological well-being. The Guidelines also outline why measures of subjective well-being are relevant for monitoring and policy making, and why national statistical agencies have a critical role to play in enhancing the usefulness of existing measures. They identify the best approaches for measuring, in a reliable and consistent way, the various dimensions of subjective well-being, and provide guidance for reporting on such measures. The Guidelines also include a number of prototype survey modules on subjective well-being that national and international agencies can use in their surveys.
Our economy is geared, above all, to achieving growth. In times of recession especially, economic policy is all about returning to growth. But a financial crisis can also be an opportunity for some basic rethinking about what the economy is for, and how through some fundamental restructuring of our financial system we can safeguard our economic stability in the future, as well as achieving wider social and environmental benefits. In recent years, other objectives such as sustainability and wellbeing have moved up the political agenda. Over two years, the SDC's Redefining Prosperity project looked into the connections and conflicts between sustainability, wellbeing and growth. Following a series of seminars and commissioned think pieces, we published the report Prosperity without Growth? The transition to a low carbon economy, written by Professor Tim Jackson, the SDC's Economics Commissioner. Prosperity without Growth? analyses the complex relationships between growth, environmental crises and social recession. In the last quarter of a century, as the global economy has doubled in size, increases in consumption have caused the degradation of an estimated 60% of the world's ecosystems. The benefits of growth have been distributed unevenly, with a fifth of the world's population sharing just 2% of global income. Even in developed countries, huge gaps in wealth and well-being remain between rich and poor. Our report proposes a twelve step route to a sustainable economy, and argues for a redefinition of "prosperity" in light of our evidence on what really contributes to people’s wellbeing.
"The Economy for the Common Good" comprises the basic elements of an alternative economic framework. It employs three approaches: 1. Market values and social values should no longer oppose each other. The same values that contribute to fulfilling interpersonal relationships should be awarded in the economy. 2. Conformity with the constitution. The economy should function in accordance with the values and objectives established by the constitutions of western democracies, which is currently not the case. 3. Economic success should no longer be measured with monetary indicators (financial profit, GDP), but by what is really important, i.e. utility values (basic needs, quality of life, communal values) Market values and social values should no longer oppose each other.
This discussion paper is an attempt to lay out a path toward a more sustainable society. It introduces several principles of sustainable well-being that meet the key sustainability challenges of advanced societies. Taken together, these principles form a vision of a sustainable well-being society. In addition, the paper analyzes the changing role of government in the transition towards sustainability.
This issue of the SGI Quarterly looks at health in relation to both life and death, showing how a healthy life is rooted in a strong sense of purpose and energy, or life force. This way of living cannot simply be evaluated by a statistical analysis of the numbers of years we are alive, our economic output or the number of diseases we encounter during the course of our lives.
At a time of economic turmoil it is perhaps unsurprising that the minds of policy makers focus on the question of how to restart economic growth. But in recent decades people have begun to question the adequacy of GDP as the primary indicator of the progress of societies. A number of governments, local, devolved and national have begun to explore how to measure wellbeing as a complement to traditional measures such as GDP. The project was carried out in partnership with IPPR North and provides evidence from six case studies of experiences of measuring wellbeing in France, the USA and Canada. The report concludes that wellbeing measures are at their most effective when they are supported by a combination of strong leadership, technocractic policy processes and building momentum through wide buy-in from civil society, citizens and the media. Where these elements come together, we have seen benefits for individual and community wellbeing by identifying policy gaps and innovative ways of working. It can also provide a valuable tool for holding governments to account.
This report explores the complex issues hidden behind two simple questions: what is progress and what is prosperity? It argues that GDP is an insufficient and misleading measure of whether life in Scotland is improving or not. The report takes the findings of the 2009 Stiglitz Report, which emerged from the Commission set up by President Sarkozy to advise on how better to measure economic performance and social progress. It recommends that the new Scottish Government applies these to creating a performance framework better able to deliver, measure and report on economic performance, quality of life, sustainability and well-being. The report also shows that over-reliance on GDP as a measure makes it difficult for politicians to back policies that are good for society or the environment if they might hamper an increase in GDP.
For decades, GDP has enjoyed supreme status as the predominant benchmark of our economic and social progress. In reality, GDP obscures or ignores essential aspects of Americans’ economic and social welfare, as well as important social and environmental dimensions of our national welfare and future well-being. When we hold GDP against other indicators, it’s clear that our policy priorities have been wrong for thirty years. But a pervasive narrative linking GDP and market growth to social progress has shielded our politics from any real accountability for the lack of progress most Americans rightly feel in their everyday lives. 
As part of a year-long commission, the 'Wellbeing and Policy' report seeks to illustrate the strengths and limitations of wellbeing analysis and provides original and authoritative guidance on the implications for public policy. It is widely agreed that GDP is an important yet insufficient measure of national success. In an attempt to broaden the scope for public policy analysis, a lot of progress has been made on developing the measurement of individual wellbeing, but a lot remains to be done on how best to apply these data to policymaking. The Commission on Wellbeing and Policy works to fill this gap and explore how wellbeing analysis can be usefully applied to policy.
This is a story about changing the world by what is measured – counting what matters. It has a cast of characters: Socrates and Aristotle; Jeremy Bentham and Thomas Jefferson; Simon Kuznets and Robert F. Kennedy; Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron; Amartya Sen and Joseph Stiglitz; Martin Seligman and Daniel Gilbert; His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan, and the City of Santa Monica – among a cast of millions including you and me. This story has a central hero – the wellbeing index – and this whitepaper will examine its past, present, and future in an exploration of the what, why, and how of community wellbeing: - What is wellbeing and how is wellbeing defined at the community level? - Why does measuring and prioritizing wellbeing matter and how does it relate to public policy? - How is wellbeing measured at the community level?
Children’s well-being is a key dimension of sustainable development and social resilience; it is about our present and our future. It requires recognition as a central building block of the European policy agenda. In Europe we do not invest enough in our children. The European Union does not have a children’s policy- nor do many countries. Children have weak or no political representation and most countries and institutions do not offer children and young people the opportunity to have their voice heard and participate in decision-making. Children and youth are particularly hard hit by the financial insecurities in present day Europe – their future is at stake. But we should not continue as in the past and we do not need more of the same. Most societies are not creative and daring enough in affecting changes for the well-being of children. We require a vibrant debate on what childhood means at the beginning of the 21st century. We need to radically shift our mindsets and transform how we think about children, learning, health, education and society. We are advocating for a paradigm shift that will: - Consider children as competent partners, nurturing personal responsibility more than compliance - Understand learning not only as a cognitive, but as an integral process with many dimensions. - Move from disease and treatment centred healthcare to promoting health and well-being. - Move from standardized education to child centred education. - Move from sectoral to systemic solutions in policy and society. There is no policy maker that does not underscore the sentenced “children are our future – we must invest in them”. Yet the action that is needed rarely follows, despite the negative economic and social consequences for individuals, communities and society at large.