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The Happy Planet Index (HPI) measures what matters: sustainable wellbeing for all. It tells us how well nations are doing at achieving long, happy, sustainable lives. This briefing paper offers a short overview of the index and of the 2016 results. You can explore all the data at
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"
Glen Crust gives an engaging presentation which proposes that university might be a tool you can use more effectively when you know how it works. University life enables you to do what you love with like-minded and motivated friends, and can fulfil many aspects of wellbeing. Glen looks at how a student experience that is happy, connected, satisfying and worthwhile can be a road to fulfilling, worthwhile employment.
This report describes the outcomes of a research study conducted jointly by The Children’s Society and NEF (New Economics Foundation) which explores activities that children can do themselves that might be linked to increased feelings of well-being. The Children’s Society, which has been involved in a child-centred well-being research programme since 2005, was interested to explore the extent to which NEF's 'Five Ways to Wellbeing' framework might also be relevant to children. The research involved two components: 1. A survey of 1500 children aged 10 to 15 which asked about time spent on various activities and about levels of subjective well-being 2. Eleven focus groups with around 90 children aged eight to 15 which explored their ideas about various activities which might promote their well-being.
All local authorities hope to govern in a way that promotes well-being and tackles societal problems at their root. But with finances slashed and demand for public services swelling, struggling councils are seeing these objectives drift further and further out of reach. What can be done? A new model of public service commissioning is evolving across England that may hold the key. The word ‘crisis’ has become commonplace in local government over the last five years. Reeling from cuts of up to 30%, councils are faced with the seemingly impossible task of stretching dwindling funds ever further. But new strategies are out there. By embracing the skills, time and energy of those who know most about public services – the people who use them – and switching focus towards identifying and achieving the long-term outcomes that really matter, councils are breathing new life into the services they commission. This handbook and practical guide is the result of eight years of collaboration between the New Economics Foundation (NEF) and local authorities. It sets out a model for designing, commissioning and delivering services so that they: * focus on commissioning for ‘outcomes’, meaning the long-term changes that services and other activities achieve. * promote co-production to make services more effective and bring in new resources, by working in partnership with the people using their services * promote social value by placing social, environmental and economic outcomes at the heart of commissioning.
In November 2010, the Prime Minister asked the Office for National Statistics to initiate a debate on national well-being and to start to measure it. If this is done well, the result will make a real difference to people’s lives. This report by nef (the new economics foundation) looks at what is needed for this type of measurement. A successful society is one in which people have high levels of well-being which is sustained over time. Accordingly, progress can be measured in terms of three key ‘spheres’: 1. Goals: universally high levels of well-being. 2. Resources: sustainable use of environmental resources. 3. Human systems: activities that achieve intermediate objectives such as a stable and productive economy, a cohesive society, good housing, and so on.
National Accounts of Well-being presents a radical, robust proposal to guide the direction of modern societies and the lives of people who live in them. It demonstrates why national governments should directly measure people’s subjective well-being: their experiences, feelings and perceptions of how their lives are going. It calls for these measures to be collected on a regular, systematic basis and published as National Accounts of Well-being. The measures are needed because the economic indicators which governments currently rely on tell us little about the relative success or failure of countries in supporting a good life for their citizens.
Over the last 30 years, there has been a considerable growth in academic research on the causes of well-being. In general, this literature gives a fairly consistent picture of which factors have associations with subjective well-being. However, it is only in the last few years that there has been the corresponding level of interest from policymakers at national level. This is seen, for example, by the start of a programme of work at the UK Office for National Statistics, commissioned by the Prime Minister, on Measuring National Well-being. This document aims to provide the tools necessary to transfer this academic knowledge into a practical format for policymakers.
One of the key aims of a democratic government is to promote the good life: a flourishing society, where citizens are happy, healthy, capable and engaged – in other words with high levels of well-being. But in prioritising economic growth at all costs, government has lost sight of this ultimate aim. This manisto seeks to put well-being back at the centre of policymaking.
The natural environment underpins our social and economic systems; it makes life on Earth possible and worth living. As well as its intrinsic value, it contributes to the delivery of key policy goals and plays a critical role in responding to the economic and environmental challenges that our society faces today by increasing our resilience and encouraging a more sustainable lifestyle. Yet in spite of the growing evidence, we are failing to realise its potential.
This working paper considers a recent paper by Professor Angus Deaton (2011) of Princeton University which suggests that advocates of well-being measurement should be more cautious. We argue that Deaton is right to caution governments against expecting large rapid changes in reported national average well-being as a result of changes in economic conditions but that this does not detract from the value of measuring well-being and we discuss the reasons.
nef believes that economic policy should be designed to maximise well-being in a way that is sustainable and socially just. This working paper is about some of the policy implications of targeting well-being. The first part introduces the concept, explaining why and what we are targeting; the second part presents some of the key empirical findings; and the third part draws together the implications for policy. This is work in progress: research is ongoing.
Currently, public services do not deal effectively with this life stage. At the ages of 16, 17 and 18 many of the better targeted and coordinated services for children fall away, often leaving young people who lack support from their families both vulnerable and struggling. An estimated 200,000 young people find themselves locked into destructive cycles, with long-term consequences for their economic, physical and emotional wellbeing and substantial costs for the state as a result of their ill-health and their dependence on welfare. In light of this, Catch22 launched the Ready or Not campaign in 2010, calling for a radical overhaul in our approach to young adulthood, through formally recognising this transition period as a life stage and making services more coherent and accessible for the 16–25 age group.To identify and measure potential outcomes from a new and more coherent approach, Catch22 commissioned nef (the new economics foundation) to produce a costing study using the Social Return on Investment (SROI) cost-benefit tool.
Backing the Future provides the economic and social case for transforming the way we invest in the future of society through our children. The report makes clear the need for a comprehensive investment programme in preventative services for children and young people that would both save spending on dealing with the impact of problems later, and deliver wider benefits to society. To achieve lasting change, Backing the Future demonstrates why it is essential to address the impact of the structural factors affecting the circumstances of children’s lives, such as poverty and inequality, together with psychological and social dimensions of their well-being. We show how this can be achieved and present an economic model for how the UK Government could fund a transition to a more preventative system, therefore turning aspiration into reality.
Commissioned by the Government's Foresight project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing, this report recommends five ways towards well-being. It presents the evidence and rationale between each of the five ways, drawing on a wealth of psychological literature.
University Challenge presents the case for redefining quality to capture higher education's transformative role for individuals and for the wider economy, environment and society. This paper highlights the urgent need to rethink the purpose of higher education to take account of its transformative potential and to redefine quality in higher education accordingly. It calls for a higher education mandate which serves a dual purpose of enhancing both personal and collective well-being, recognising the learner's role as a member of a family, community and society as well as a future worker. In doing so, it acts as a starting point for exploring a new approach to quality in higher education and presents six features of a well-being-led approach to quality to help shape quality assurance and quality enhancement activities in the future.
Are you happy? traces the history of new economics past, present and future. It asks the biggest question facing humanity - do good lives have to cost the earth? - and finds that the answer lies in a new type of economics, economics as if people and the planet mattered.
If everyone in the world lived as people do in Europe, we would need three planets to support us. Beyond this broad sense in which the environment is fundamental to our lives, there is now an emerging body of evidence that suggests that the local environment, and particularly natural environments, meet a wide range of human needs and promote well-being. In the first part of this paper we draw together some of this evidence looking at the relationship the broadest sense – including physical, resource and perceptual aspects to the relationship. In the second part of the paper, we turn to the question of how we can achieve ‘One Planet Living’ – where we all live within our environmental means – and yet maintain or increase our quality of life.
The idea that Government should be concerned with people’s well-being or happiness is no longer frivolous. There has been a surge of interest in this area, including the devastating finding that whilst economic output has nearly doubled in the last 30 years life satisfaction levels in the UK have remained flat. nef research has shown that quality of life and social progress had remained stagnant in the UK over the last 30 to 40 years, never regaining a 1976 peak, despite vigorous economic growth since then. This study of young people’s well-being by nef shows that young people’s well-being drops drastically at secondary school, with significant effects on their personal development. The research, done in partnership with Nottingham City Council, looks at two measures of well-being in over 1,000 youngsters: life satisfaction and personal development. Personal development is related to being curious, and engaging in challenging and absorbing activities. Previous studies have only focused on life satisfaction, but this other dimension of well-being is important for people’s overall ability to cope well with life’s challenges and is directly related to physical health, particularly in later life."
This report presents the results of a scoping exercise looking at how the Five Ways to Wellbeing have been used across the UK since their launch as part of the Foresight report in October 2008.The aims of this work are twofold.1. To develop an increased understanding about the scope and potentialof the Five Ways to Wellbeing as a tool to improve population mental health and wellbeing.2. To review how the Five Ways to Wellbeing are currently being used by local and national agencies to help identify future opportunities.
A collection of personal contributions to the debate on alternative political narratives of well-being from a Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative perspective. The introduction outlines what’s happening now in the UK on well-being and provides an overview of the evidence from well-being science. The fourth contribution, by Matthew Taylor, sets out a view both of what is necessary for well-being to be an effective driver of policy and what its potential might be. A theme running throughout the collection is the issue of individual versus structural level approaches to enhancing well-being.
In January the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) published ‘…And the pursuit of happiness: Wellbeing and the Role of Government’, a collection of essays that criticised the idea of using well-being in policymaking. This generated a substantial amount of public attention and debate about the issue, which we at nef welcome. However, we strongly disagree with the conclusions that the IEA reached. The publication as a whole raises a range of interesting objections to the use of well-being to guide public policy, deserving of consideration. However, it also presents a number of arguments that over-simplify the current state of the well-being research; draw some highly speculative conclusions; and misrepresent opposing viewpoints. The following pages examine these claims and refutes them.
The Happy Planet Index is a new measure of progress that focuses on what matters: sustainable well-being for all. It tells us how well nations are doing in terms of supporting their inhabitants to live good lives now, while ensuring that others can do the same in future. At a time of uncertainty, the index provides a clear compass pointing nations in the direction they need to travel, and helping groups around the world to advocate for a vision of progress that is truly about people's lives.
This short handbook on measuring well-being is produced by the Centre for Well-being at nef (the new economics foundation) with input from nef consulting. It is designed primarily for voluntary organisations and community groups delivering projects and services, to help them kick-start the process of measuring well-being outcomes.By measuring the well-being of the people we aim to support, information can be gathered which can be used, for example, to improve the design and delivery of projects and services, to target projects and services at the people who are in most need, to tailor provision to suit needs, and to support funding applications.
The UK has a unique resource. As of April 2011, the UK’s largest survey, the Annual Population Survey (APS), has included four questions on subjective well-being. The data from the survey will allow analysts both inside and outside government to better understand the determinants of well-being.