nowanowski - Increasing the Reliability of Wellness Metrics...

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Increasing the Reliability of Wellness Metrics in Unique Groups Linda A. E. Nowakowski, Ubon Ratchathani University, Thailand [email protected] Theme: Global Standards Research domain: Living Standards Abstract When we look at social life and hence social development, we use three distinct lenses: economic, political and cultural. It is my belief that development has been measured in the past with a single lens that has been designed and fine tuned to perfectly see neoclassical economic development and in particular consumerism, as the perfect vision. The initiation of the term Gross National Happiness came as a result of a disagreement on whether GDP was an accurate or satisfactory measure of development. Rather than directly confront the definition of development, a decision was made to change the lens that we look at “development” through rather than address what it means to be a developed society. The adoption of the term happiness was unfortunate and has not addressed the problem of developing a suitable indicator or index to compare relative development in the global community while at the same time using a soft, undefined term measured by often questioned, subjective tools. By looking at a definition of human well being which includes a happiness factor, an index could be developed to allow communities to evaluate their own well-being based on their own criteria and over time, their development with tools that could also help them fine tune programs within their communities. This paper offers a challenge to the GNH community to collaborate and develop the tools necessary to assist communities in meaningful assessment of their own progress on the development road: tools that can help them fine tune their own programs rather than provide fodder to those who would measure development exclusively with a western economic measurement and little concern with increased well being of individuals or communities. Introduction
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Buddhist Economics has been referred to as where Economics meets ethics. This can perhaps be seen clearest when looking at the goal of Economics. Neoclassical economics claims that the goal of the economic production process is the maximization of utility. What is utility? Utility is simply the term that has been used to replace Aristotle’s human well-being. It is often referred to as a measure of satisfaction. Satisfaction and well-being seem quite different. One can imagine a person being well but not being satisfied. It is hard to imagine a person who is not well being satisfied. Well-being has been derived from two general perspectives: the hedonic approach, which focuses on happiness and defines well-being in terms of pleasure attainment and pain avoidance; and the eudaimonic approach, which focuses on meaning and self-realization and defines well- being in terms of the degree to which a person is fully functioning. The most commonly held meaning today seems to be the hedonic approach, at least in western terms. Buddhist Economics
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nowanowski - Increasing the Reliability of Wellness Metrics...

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