Tuesday, February 10

What type of growth?

NEF's report looks at the state of well being in the UK, the report is revealing, the FT also has an article about alternatives to GDP when measuring growth and well-being.

What kind of growth is socially desirable and environmentally sustainable in a post-crisis world?

The accounts are built on two groups of measures: personal well-being and social well-being. Personal well-being describes people’s experiences of their positive and negative emotions, satisfaction, vitality, resilience, self-esteem and sense of purpose and meaning. Social well-being is made up of two main components: supportive relationships, and trust and belonging both of which are critical elements of overall well-being. Together, these indicators provide a headline picture of experienced quality of life across the 22 European nations for which data are available:
  • The UK is ranked 13th, out of 22 European nations, when combining ratings for personal and social well-being, managing only 15th for social well-being and 13th for personal well-being alone.
  • The UK fares particularly poorly compared to other Western European nations where we fall third from the bottom on both personal and social well-being
  • Although people in the UK are relatively satisfied with their lives, they score poorly on measures of vitality and sense of meaning and engagement.
  • Denmark, Switzerland and Norway show the highest levels of overall well-being, while Central and Eastern European countries such as the Ukraine, Bulgaria and Hungary have the lowest.

“Governments have lost sight of fact that their fundamental purpose is to improve the lives of their citizens. Instead they have become obsessed with maximising economic growth to the exclusion of other concerns, ignoring the impact that this has on people’s well-being. The UK’s long hours culture and record levels of personal debt, have squeezed out opportunities for individuals, families and communities to make choices and pursue activities that would best promote personal and social well-being. What’s more, the model of unending economic growth is fast taking us beyond environmental limits. These arguments make a compelling case for very different measures of human progress”

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