Happy planet index

Happy_PlanetMap showing countries shaded by their position in the Happy Planet Index (2006). The highest-ranked countries are bright green; the lowest are brown

The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is an index of human well-being and environmental impact that was introduced by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in July 2006. The index is designed to challenge well-established indices of countries’ development, such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the Human Development Index (HDI), which are seen as not taking sustainability into account. In particular, GDP is seen as inappropriate, as the usual ultimate aim of most people is not to be rich, but to be happyand healthy.[1] Furthermore, it is believed that the notion of sustainable development requires a measure of the environmental costs of pursuing those goals.[2]

(Source: Wikipedia)

Happy Planet Index’s Homepage: http://www.happyplanetindex.org/

In 2009, Vietnam ranked the fifth. The index does not reflect the extents of human happiness in different countries, but I really like it as it problematizes common perceptions of hierarchy.

A related video

Richard Wilkinson: How economic inequality harms societies

We feel instinctively that societies with huge income gaps are somehow going wrong. Richard Wilkinson charts the hard data on economic inequality, and shows what gets worse when rich and poor are too far apart: real effects on health, lifespan, even such basic values as trust.

In “The Spirit Level,” Richard Wilkinson charts data that proves societies that are more equal are healthier, happier societies.

Acknowledgements

  • I was reminded about HPI when reading a conversation between a teacher and one of her students in the teacher’s Facebook.
  • The video was introduced in The Homeyness of Crunchy Eggplants, one of the courses within The Impulsiveness of Boiled Cabbage.
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