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Happy Planet Index

Tess Chilton

In this Ted Talk Statistician, Nic Marks, argues that quality of life is measurable. He also argues that true contentment comes from our connections with others, engagement with the world and our sense of autonomy rather then our accumulation of material wealth. He asks, why then do we base our nations success by its productivity instead of the happiness and well being of its people?

Mark is a pioneer in the field of well-being research and has created ways to measure happiness. In this Ted Talk he brings up the Happy planet Index that he created, which calculates national well-being against resource use. The results of this test show that the people in world’s wealthiest countries, who consume the most, are not the happiest. The happiest planet, in fact, is Costa Rica and they use 1/4th the resources that westernized countries use. A happy life does not have to cost the earth.

He give an outline of the five ways to wellbeing according to http://www.happinessworks.com/. They are: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. These activities are simple things individuals can do in their everyday lives. The Five Ways to Well-being were developed from evidence gathered in the UK government’s Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing. The Project, published in 2008, drew on state-of-the-art research about mental capital and mental wellbeing through life. I hope this inspires new ways of thinking about prosperity in terms of happiness and well-being rather then economic growth.

1 Comment

  1. vavrok

    This reminds me of a book you might be interested in, “Geography of Bliss” by Eric Weiner. The book analyzes why some countries are “happy” and others are not. He focuses a lot on what policies in Scandinavia contribute to their high ranking on the happiness index.

    Here’s an NYT review of the book: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/30/books/review/Paul-t.html?_r=0

    And here is Weiner’s Website: http://www.ericweinerbooks.com/books/the-geography-of-bliss/description/

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