August 15th, 2016 by
Category: Happiness

Here’s an overview of interesting articles why Gross domestic product (GDP) is an out-dated measure to compare the economic performance of a country or region, and to make international comparisons.

Looking at international politics and economies today, it seems urgent to suggest Gross National Happiness (GNH) as a better mechanism to measure the wellbeing of a country’s people.

Gerd Leonhard dedicates an entire chapter “Taking the Happenstance out of Happiness” on this topic in his book Technology Vs. Humanity (to be released on September 9 2016). He mentions:

I argue that we must place human happiness and wellbeing at the heart of the decision making and governance processes that will shape future investments in scientific and technological research, development, and commercialization because, in the end, technology is not what we seek, but how we seek.

In the science of happiness can trump GDP as a guide for policy, Professor Richard Easterlin argues:

Happiness tells us how well a society satisfies the major concerns of people’s everyday life. GDP is a measure limited to one aspect of economic life, the production of material goods. The aphorism that money isn’t everything in life, applies here. If happiness were to supplant GDP as a leading measure of societal wellbeing, public policy might perhaps be moved in a direction more meaningful to people’s lives.

The Conversation published this review recently of the updated World Happiness Report and reflects on many of the same issues.

The World Economic Forum published these five measures of growth that are better than GDP, based on good jobs, wellbeing, environment, fairness and health.

Five measures of growth that are better than GDP

Another interesting read on the subject on the WEF blog is beyond GDP – is it time to rethink the way we measure growth?

It is great to see so much convergence of academic thought as schools, governments and NGOs start to engage with this agenda in novel and meaningful ways.

Another analogic read I recommend on this topic is The World Book of Happiness by Leo Bormans. In this fascinating and wide-ranging book, 100 top experts in the field of positive psychology from around the world (from Iceland to South Africa, China to Australia) reveal the findings of their research in the best way to find and keep happiness. Without philosophical or spiritual speculations, this book provides clear insights based on worldwide scientific research. The subjects tackled include time, health, success, well-being, the future, compassion, genetics, freewill, humour, pain, choice, family, friends and more. It not only explores the individual, but also the well-being of groups, organizations and nations, resulting in a unique and spectacular global vision of happiness.


Pre-order Technology Vs. Humanity (offer of 20% off retail price valid until 8 September 2016).

Author: Gerd Leonhard

In the words of American poet John Berryman, “the possibility that has been overlooked is the future”. Most of us are far too busy coping with present challenges to explore the future in any depth – and when we do our own cravings and fears often run away with us, resulting in utopias or dystopias that are not very helpful in terms of planning and decisions. Today’s professionals, leaders and their organisations need a dedicated, passionate long-term understanding of the future if they are to successfully navigate the exponential waves of change. For countless individuals and organizations that intelligence is called Gerd Leonhard.

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