In the October 22, 2012 edition of TIME magazine (Business Section), the Pursuit of Happiness and Bhutan’s efforts to advance a new economic paradigm based on well-being and happiness (Gross National Happiness) was profiled including our work on developing Genuine Progress Indicators and building economies of well-being in Edmonton, Leduc and Alberta.
In the article my work, along with others such as Joseph Stiglitz (former chief economist of the World Bank and advisor to France on developing new measures of progress), is profiled.
‘The pace is picking up in Canada, where the province of Alberta and the city of Edmonton have supported the development of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing. It’s similar to Bhutan’s GNH Index, but instead of using survey questions, Canadian researchers created a composite of 64 existing statistics, including work hours and incidence of violent crime, that are considered proxies for various components of well-being. “We didn’t ask Canadians how they feel,” says Mark Anielski, who led the project. Once countries start measuring well-being, it isn’t clear how they should use the data. In Edmonton, the new well-being index is intended simply as another data point to guide long-range strategic planning. At most, “we start to pay attention to inequality of well-being,” Anielski says.’
I believe the world is on the cusp of a major economic paradigm shift from a narrow focus of economic growth (GDP) and profits, to one based on optimizing well-being. I am about to travel to China (Harbin and Shanghai) to encourage China to pursue a new economic vision of an economy of well-being, building on their economic model of a Xiaokang society (a Confucian term meaning a society of moderation). In July 2012 I travelled to Tahiti (French Polynesia) encouraging this beautiful South Pacific community to adopt a new economic of well-being paradigm.