The pursue of happiness is a primordial need of human beings. According to Aristotle ‘is the meaning and purpose of existence, the whole aim of existence.’ However the current governing system have failed to deliver the ‘greatest happiness for the greatest numbers’ as J. Bentham worded it in 1776.
We tend to associate happiness with ‘the fleeting, pleasurable ‘feel good’ moods’, rather than with a more stable trend. Our current system measures happiness and well-being purely on an economical basis. As we have surpass the planetary boundaries local Governments in Germany and the U.S, along with the effort made by Bhutan are measuring human development more widely, putting well-being at its core.
But this critic is not new, already on 1968 Robert F. Kennedy criticized the GDP based model, pointed that there were very important things that weren’t measured on GDP:
“Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product … if we should judge America by that – counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.
“Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans.”