How do we measure things? From my perspective it appears that money is the primary form of measurement in the US. We are led to believe a certain amount of money is going to bring us happiness, bring us peace, improve our lives and our relationships.
We measure Gross Domestic Product as the main report of how we are doing. GDP measures the monetary value of final goods and services—that is, those that are bought by the final user—produced in a country in a given period of time
We think the higher the GDP the better off we are. Yet GDP counts money spent on cleaning up pollution, the cost of health care, the cost of fighting fires and cleaning up after such natural events as a positive entry. It includes these negative costs as well as positive production. So how can that be a true measure of how we are doing?
Everywhere you look the focus is on advertising so that we will buy more stuff. Advertisements tell us that more stuff will make us happy. We know that consumption is depleting our planet’s resources. We know our planet is not happy, and there is plenty of evidence that even people in a wealthy country like ours are not happy.
So instead why don’t we focus on our health, our well being, the well being of our planet, and personal happiness as our main tool for measurement just as the Happy Planet Index or the Genuine Progress Indictator does?
According to this report from CNBC, “What does it take to be wealthy?” this kind of measurement is now happening. I hope they're right and that the trend continues!
Check out “The Economics of Happiness,” a 20 minute film by Local Futures that lays it all out beautifully.
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