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Wellbeing is a dynamic multidisciplinary concept for a better future. We can see wellbeing as a balance point between resources and challenges, autonomy and intensity, as well as support and demand. Any system to measure, understand, or increase wellbeing must contain multidisciplinary theories and findings, incorporate co-responsibility and appreciative inquiry, and include feedback loops that allow for accurate measurement of the challenges and resources available on any given day. The purpose of this paper is to integrate a new definition of wellbeing with theory and research from multiple disciplines to create a framework for the real practice of measuring wellbeing.
Eight Steps To Enabling Wellbeing If we are to continue to improve wellbeing a fundamental rethinking of the state’s relationship to citizens and communities is required. Certain areas of our wellbeing can be best improved through our interactions with friends and family and through community activity. The state should continue providing the public services that it excels at but it must also take on a new role that of the ‘Enabling State’ empowering and supporting communities, individuals and families to play a more active role in improving their own wellbeing.. In this Carnegie UK report, Sir John Elvidge presents the concept of the Enabling State and sets out eight steps that governments can take to improve the wellbeing of all sections of our society, to support individuals and communities to achieve positive change and ensure that the most vulnerable people are not left behind.
Research has shown that the amount and quality of social connections with people around us are vitally important to an individual’s well-being and should be considered when making any assessment of National Well-being.This article focuses on people’s relationships with both family and friends. However, these relationships do not operate in isolation, and relationships within the wider community and the workplace are also analysed. The ONS Measuring National Well-being programme aims to produce accepted and trusted measures of the well-being of the nation - how the UK as a whole is doing. A Report Chris Randall, Office for National Statistics.
There has never been such a crying need for a bold vision of the future. If we fail to reverse the policies that have been driving climate change, we face disaster on a world scale. Yet since the 1980s, radical politics has lost its vision of how to create a qualitatively better society for everyone and lost the ability to inspire. In ‘A Convenient Truth’ Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett set out a path towards a society that’s better for us and the planet. Inequality drives status insecurity, which fuels the consumerism that is destroying our planet. But the things we buy aren’t making us any happier: the link between economic development and real improvements in quality of life is broken in rich societies. For real improvements in wellbeing, we need a more equal society, which is best achieved by putting democracy at the heart of the economy. Indeed, the authors see the extension of democracy into economic institutions as the next major step in the long project of human emancipation.
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...
Building a resource-efficient and circular economy in Europe: We are extracting and using more resources than our planet can produce in a given time. Current consumption and production levels are not sustainable and risk weakening our planet’s ability to provide for us. We need to reshape our production and consumption systems to enable us to produce the same amount of output with less resource, to re‑use, recover and recycle more, and to reduce the amount of waste we generate.
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.
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.
Over the past decade the terms placemaking and the commons have become increasingly popular, a sign of the rising recognition about what makes our communities strong and alive. The book in your hands (or on your screen) chronicles many dimensions of this growing movement, whose impact can be measured in the numerous friendships, romances, business ventures, community initiatives, and other human connections that arise each day in public places around the globe. Yet the ultimate goal of placemaking and the commons is even more elemental: to expand the possibilities for happiness in everyone’s world.
"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.
The Well-being at work report summarises the strongest evidence on the factors that influence well-being at work, along with possible implications for employers. It presents examples of how organisations leading the way in terms of fostering well-being at work are addressing these factors. It outlines how certain features of individuals’ working lives have varying degrees of influence over the various aspects of well-being – from increasing a sense of purpose, to promoting positive emotions, morale, motivation, overall job satisfaction and even life satisfaction. Based on statistical evidence, the report concludes that: • Getting the right work-life balance is an effective way of avoiding stress at work. • It is possible to maximise overall organisational well-being through a re-evaluation of how salaries are distributed among employees. • Organisations can adopt certain approaches towards job security that help their staff achieve higher levels of job satisfaction. • Working with employees to ensure they have a sense that their job is achievable can lead to greater job satisfaction, as well as higher levels of morale. • Management behaviour seems to be highly important, with some management styles more successful than others at strengthening well-being at work. • Creating a safe working environment and a sense of the social value of the work of the organisation, may increase employees’ feelings of job satisfaction. • Good levels of job-fit and skill-use, and opportunities to develop new skills, can create high levels of employee satisfaction. • Helping employees to take greater control over their work can lead to better performance and greater job satisfaction. • Taking steps to improve relationships at work – with a particular focus on relationships between staff and managers – and encouraging positive feelings can improve both job and life satisfaction.
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.
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.
Good Living cannot be improvised, it must be planned. Good Living is the style of life that enables happiness and the permanency of cultural and environmental diversity; it is harmony, equality, equity and solidarity. It is not the quest for opulence or infinite economic growth.
The World Migration Report 2013: Migrant Well-being and Development - the seventh report in IOM’s World Migration Report (WMR) series - focuses on the migrant, exploring the positive and negative effects of migration on individual well-being. Many reports linking migration and development concentrate on the broad socioeconomic consequences of migratory processes, and the impact of migration on the lives of individuals can easily be overlooked. In contrast, the WMR 2013 focuses on migrants as persons, exploring how migration affects quality of life and human development across a broad range of dimensions. The World Migration Report 2013 is published amidst a growing debate on how the benefits of migration can best be harnessed for development. Despite progress following the first UN General Assembly High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development (HLD) in 2006, migration remains inadequately integrated into development frameworks at national and local levels, and public perceptions of migrants and migration are often very negative. The World Migration Report 2013 contributes to the global debate on migration and development in three ways: By examining the impact of migration on individual well-being, the report goes beyond traditional analyses focusing on economic development and, in particular, on the impact of remittances (money that migrants send home). In contrast, by exploring how migration affects human development, the report presents a more holistic picture of development. The report draws upon the findings of a unique source of data – the Gallup World Poll, conducted in more than 150 countries – allowing for an assessment of the well-being of migrants worldwide for the first time. The report looks at how migration outcomes differ depending on the origin and destination of migrants. Traditionally, research has focused on those migrating from lower income countries to more affluent ones; this report expands the analysis, considering movements along four migration pathways and their implications for development: i.e. migration from the South to North, between countries of the South or between countries of the North, as well as movements from the North to the South.
This paper is part of a broad effort to elaborate an inspiring and rigorous global visión for the future, and to identify a path forward. The paper has three major sections. The background section highlights data and findings relevant to the pursuit of well-being. The vision section describes a world in which successful pursuit of well-being in the norm. Finally, the pathways section articulates a multi-part strategy to foster interest in time affluence and to support its pursuit.
This paper is a call for better indicators of human well-being in nations around the world. We critique the inappropriate use of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as a measure of national well-being, something for which it was never designed. We also question the idea that economic growth is always synonymous with improved well-being. Useful measures of progress and well-being must be measures of the degree to which society’s goals (i.e., to sustainably provide basic human needs for food, shelter, freedom, participation, etc.) are met, rather than measures of the mere volume of marketed economic activity, which is only one means to that end. Various alternatives and complements to GDP are discussed in terms of their motives, objectives, and limitations. Some of these are revised measures of economic activity while others measure changes in community capital—natural, social, human, and built—in an attempt to measure the extent to which development is using up the principle of community capital rather than living off its interest. We conclude that much useful work has been done; many of the alternative indicators have been used successfully in various levels of community planning. But the continued misuse of GDP as a measure of well-being necessitates an immediate, aggressive, and ongoing campaign to change the indicators that decision makers are using to guide policies and evaluate progress. We need indicators that promote truly sustainable development—development that improves the quality of human life while living within the carrying capacity of the supporting ecosystems. We end with a call for consensus on appropriate new measures of progress toward this new social goal.
There are significant opportunities to embed the wellbeing agenda across the Northern Ireland administration, and the models adopted by Scotland and the Republic of Ireland demonstrate what can be achieved with a wellbeing approach. But what are the next steps for embedding the wellbeing agenda in Northern Ireland? This discussion paper reports on the outcomes of the conference the Trust hosted in Autumn 2013 in Belfast on measuring economic performance and societal progress in Northern Ireland, and outlines the next steps of the Carnegie Roundtable on Measuring Wellbeing in Northern Ireland.
This conference was based on the shift from economic growth to growth in wellbeing. Watch the Resurgence & Ecologist annual Festival of Wellbeing that explores ‘wellbeing’ from environmental, personal, political and economic perspectives. Speakers include Alys Fowler, Tony Juniper, Satish Kumar, Ben Okri, Ruth Padel, Vandana Shiva, Edward Skidelsky, Tamsin Omond, Martin Powell, Juliet Davenport, Lynne Franks, Richard Wilkinson, Theodore Zeldin and Rowan Williams. The event also includes classical Indian dance and music.
The Great Transition – from economic growth to growth in wellbeing. Broadcast from Bishopsgate Institute, London. A day of inspiring speakers, great music, thoughtful poets and tasty food. The purpose of this event was to discuss – and demonstrate – how we can move from a devotion to economic growth to the joy of wellbeing. Speakers included: Jonathon Porritt; Fiona Reynolds; Richard Layard; Caroline Lucas; Polly Higgins; Patrick Holden; Fiona Reynolds; Satish Kumar and Nic Marks. Musicians include: Barb Jungr; Craig Pruess and Sophie Stammers. Dance from Bhavan, and poetry from Matt Harvey and Martin Powell. The day celebrates Resurgence's 45th anniversary and also the merger of Resurgence and The Ecologist. The merger brings together Resurgence's focus on cultural, spiritual and artistic. Check out the videos from this event to learn more!
Research shows that exercise influences the release and uptake of chemicals in the brain that make you feel good. This booklet is a pocket guide to using physical activity to boost your wellbeing. From simple daily changes like walking for twenty minutes or tending your garden to running a marathon, physical activity can significantly improve your quality of life. Download the free guide for more information on how physical activity improves wellbeing and advice on where to start.
Recently, the debate on new measures of wellbeing reached a wide audience especially thanks to the big media’s “ballyhoo”. That debate, very often accompanied by Robert Kennedy’s word (March 18, 1968, speech at Kansas University) has been urged also thanks to many prestigious initiatives, like the commission appointed by French President in 2008 and now known through the chairs’ names (Stiglitz, Sen e Fitoussi). What is never said is that since many years, many researchers all over the world are continuously working on defining concepts and measures of wellbeing. Looking at this movement’s outputs allows us to realize that what is reasserted by the last initiatives can be considered, in many respects, neither really original nor avant-garde (Maggino & Ruviglioni, 2010). In many cases, the debate has been trivialized to the simple concern “what indicator can replace GDP?” As we will see, actually defining what a good society is, and consequently its observation and monitoring, should take into account two important and interrelated concepts: complexity and limit. Concepts of good society: classification attempts. During the history of political philosophy, since Aristotle, the conceptual approaches trying to define what is good society were and are many. It is quite impossible to examine all those definitions and this work has no intention to do that exhaustively. This work aims at providing anyone with interpretative instruments allowing us to orient ourselves among all the emerging proposals and to distinguish between serious and propagandistic ones.
This report assesses the impact of the crisis on the subjective well-being of Europeans. In 2011, GDP per capita in 22 out of the then 27 EU Member States was below 2008 levels, and unemployment rates were higher in 25 out of the 27. These indicators demonstrate worrying trends, but the report goes deeper, trying to answer various questions: What is the real impact on people’s lives? Who has been hit hardest? Where have there been positive wellbeing patterns? What explains the variation in well-being across Europe? How can policy increase or stem the fall in well-being in the future? It concludes that the crisis may not be affecting everyone’s well-being equally, nor all aspects of well-being. Well-being has fallen in many EU countries, remaining highest in northern countries. However, falls in wellbeing in many western EU countries have been matched by increases in eastern countries. Population groups with low well-being include those limited by disability or illness and unemployed people.
The Commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress has been created at the beginning of 2008 on French government's initiative. Increasing concerns have been raised since a long time about the adequacy of current measures of economic performance, in particular those based on GDP figures. Moreover, there are broader concerns about the relevance of these figures as measures of societal well-being, as well as measures of economic, environmental, and social sustainability. Reflecting these concerns, President Sarkozy has decided to create this Commission, to look at the entire range of issues. Its aim was to identify the limits of GDP as an indicator of economic performance and social progress, to consider additional information required for the production of a more relevant picture, to discuss how to present this information in the most appropriate way, and to check the feasibility of measurement tools proposed by the Commission. Commission's work is not focused on France, nor on developed countries. The output of the Commission has been made public, providing a template for every interested country or group of countries.
One of the overarching targets of the European Health 2020 policy is how to set targets for well-being. Building on a first meeting held earlier in 2012, an expert group reviewed previous work on measuring well-being and on its definitions, concepts and domains; advised WHO on the definition and concept of well-being to be used in the context of Health 2020; and determined the next steps required to develop well-being indicators and targets. As a result of these actions, an operational framework will be proposed to measure and set targets for well-being, including options to support Member States in its implementation.
The aim of the Beyond GDP project is to expand our understanding of how we measure societal progress at a local level- in other words, to go beyond monetary measurements to look at the many other aspects which affect quality of life. On a broader level, we would like to encourage greater use, consistency and development of measures of social progress across municipalities, cities and regions. This report sets out guiding principles to develop a conceptual framework for non-monetary measurement. The work here builds on the Wellbeing and Resilience Measure (WARM) which was developed by The Young Foundation in November 2010. The WARM Framework can be populated with existing data from a range of sources to illustrate where notable data-gathering gaps might be. Data is mapped at the European, national, and local levels. The framework is then further refined through the use of case studies (ie, does what the data map tell us and what the case studies tell us seem to be in line with each other?). Our findings so far suggest that the existing administrative infrastructure provides a good foundation to develop a common conceptual framework to measure social progress at a local level, and the data is there as well. However, there are many key terms which have different definitions across the relevant areas, which is a problem to overcome. This report outlines our recommendations on how to respond to this challenge, and build on the aspiration to provide a common understanding of social progress at a local level.
In recent decades increased mobility, longer life expectancy and the breakdown of the extended family have changed the way we live our lives, and the extent to which we are able to be ‘neighbourly’. This think-piece reviews the way people interact with their neighbours (neighbouring) in contemporary Britain and questions whether we still need good neighbouring relationships (neighbourliness) to improve our wellbeing and our happiness. It explores what we know about neighbouring and identifies issues for further research.
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.