04 Jun The pursuit of happiness
Money , move over. As salaries and profits go through the roof, the amount of money that people and nations make appears to be a less adequate measure of success . Sabina Alkire and others from the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) are trying to formulate a GWI, or Gross Well-being Index, which could supplement traditional indexes that are purely economic.
Does this indicate a shift in focus from how much money you have to how happy it makes you? PT figures out the what, why and how of happiness.
Those who are working on developing the index say it is still in the research stage, but outline some broad parameters they intend to include. Sabina Alkire, director, OPHI, says, “Apart from education, health and nutrition, we are looking at a few other parameters. They include physical safety and employment. There’s also empowerment – the ability to act on behalf of something you believe in. Then, there’s something Amartya Sen made famous – the ability to go about without shame.” But, how do you measure happiness? Psychologist Samir Parikh says that family, friends, recreation, the satisfaction of doing something that makes you feel good – all of these constitute happiness. “Financial security is also a part of it,” he adds. “But money does not equal quality of life. GDP alone can never be a mark of well-being .” Development economist Bina Agarwal seconds that. “Well-being comprises many things, of which income is a small part. It is well accepted that income is not an adequate measure of well-being .” Gopal Chhabra, an Art of Living teacher, cites the example of well-to-do pros who come to him. “They have all that money can get them,” he says, “but they say they need peace of mind.”
To read more about the Happiness Index and other happiness measures – click here.