Sun, 12 February 2017
Greetings from the World Government Summit in Dubai! This one of those big international conferences (think: World Economic Forum in Davos) that is hosted by the government of the United Arab Emirates. It focuses on ways that governments can better serve their people and operate in the service of sustainable development. There's heavy UN participation (the Secretary General is giving an address.) The heads of the World Bank and IMF are also presenting, among many other national leaders and dignitaries.
The first day of the summit focused on the question of "happiness"-- that is, how can governments measure happiness and design policies that promote happiness?
The underlying premise is that happiness is more than a personal pursuit, but actually a public good. This is obviously on the fringes of public policy discourse in the United States and most other countries, but as one panelist, who is the Ecuadorian minister for Buen Vivar, pointed out: the pursuit of happiness was literally written into the founding documents of the United States.
These days other countries have taken the mantle of taking a serious look at the intersection of public policy and happiness. In addition to Ecuador, here in the UAE there is a minister for happiness, Slovenia has a similar position as well; and the government of Bhutan an indicator it calls "Gross National Happiness."
With me to discuss the intersection of happiness and public policy is economist Andrew Oswald who pioneered this line of study. We discuss how one actually measures and quantifies happiness in a way that's relevant to public policy and also some of the political implications of a happy verses a discontented population.
This is cutting edge stuff and I think intellectually very interesting.
Direct download: Is_Gross_National_Happiness_the_New_GDP_--_Global_Dispatches.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:38am EDT