Wednesday, October 28, 2009

State of Our World: Open_Notes 8

a "national happiness index" is needed for America - everything is not ok when the economy is good -- "Redefining Progress" NGO -- Herbert Hoover idea [index], attempted resurrection by Mondale in the 1970s -- the social health of the nation, ie., unemployment, suicide, etc.; social health trend line different from the GDP trend line - social health declining or remaining stagnate -- economic indicators do not measure the quality of life, ie., health care coverage, housing, child poverty, hunger, wages, etc., vs. human material wellbeing, quality of health care, consumer items, etc.; material indicators of wellbeing -- money does not necessarily buy you happiness -- cultural indicators, crime rates falling, welfare case loads falling, smoking rates falling, etc. -- moral issue indicators, teenage pregnancy, divorce, etc. -- we must look beyond economic and business indicators; what is it important for us to measure ??

what falls within the purview of public policy, what indicator indices ?? - a sense of community is necessary for happiness -- a country needs more than just money -- we need to invest in our neighbors, engagement, trust, civility, sense of commitment, etc. -- absolute measures, relative measures, a satisfaction index -- we must differentiate between intrinsic and extrinsic happiness - a spiritual void exists in America -- a person's resources for happiness is a determinant -- inclusive family, volunteerism leads not just to happiness but joy -- base line for comparison importance; measures, etc., methodology, scenarios; is there a consensus amongst people about what makes them happy ?? - what indicators can capture social health ?? -- Jeremy Bentham (early 1800s) numerical index, an early attempt to measure happiness -- material needs must be fulfilled before spiritual, spatial needs, etc., and that is an indicator itself -- a richer political discourse is needed -- an ideal form must be approached (Plato), ie., happiness, that is the measure -- life was nasty, brutal and short for millennia - life is about *living*, what is "progress" ?? ** [not progress, regress, but an ingress, an entering into community] ** -- [NPR, Fordham Institute, Cato Institute, Jun.04.00, with [inserts]]

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