Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Wellbeing that goes beyond GDP

"From 17 June - 24 August, Wikiprogress will be running a Data Visualization Contest, "Visualizing Well-being" with the chance to win a trip to Guadalajara, Mexico to attend the 5th OECD World Forum. The Summary Report of the Wikiprogress Youth Well-being Consultation is also now available..."

"In recent years there has been an explosion of activity with organisations from around the world developing new measures of progress and calling for indicators that look beyond economic growth in measuring wellbeing, including those relevant to children."

"In 2007, the European Commission, European Parliament, Club of Rome, OECD and WWF hosted the high-level conference "Beyond GDP". The objectives were to clarify which indices are most appropriate to measure progress, and how these can best be integrated into the decision-making process and taken up by public debate."

They go on to say: "The `Beyond GDP` initiative is about developing indicators that are as clear and appealing as GDP, but more inclusive of environmental and social aspects of progress. Economic indicators such as GDP were never designed to be comprehensive measures of prosperity and well-being. "

"The multidimensional nature of child well-being requires measures which pick up on the individual components to ensure the effective tracking of progress or regression in particular areas and to allow for effective and targeted responses. There is widespread evidence supporting this argument as well as that of looking beyond monetary poverty."

Scotland has its own eight SHANARRI wellbeing indicators which can be further sub-divided into more than 100 components to ensure the effective tracking of progress or regression of children`s happiness. Although there is still much confusion about the Named Person scheme, with many seeing it as a way to improve child protection, it is as well to remember that the scheme is part of a global push to monitor human behaviour on a much grander scale.

At Westminster, Iain Duncan Smith is looking beyond monetary poverty and has indicated he would move "to repeal the 2010 Child Poverty Act, which committed the government to a target of eradicating child poverty in the UK by 2020. In so doing, the work and pensions secretary dispensed with the current relative definition of poverty (anyone in a household beneath 60% of median income.)..."

The government says it plans to develop a "range of other measures and indicators of root causes of poverty, including family breakdown, debt and addiction, which it will put together in a `children’s life chances strategy`. "

The interest in wellbeing indicators and going beyond GDP is the consequence of technological advances and the potential of big data analytics to profile and track various populations. According to Professor Sandy Pentland, an enthusiastic Bilderberger;

This is the first time in human history that we have the ability to see enough about ourselves that we can hope to actually build social systems that work qualitatively better than the systems we’ve already had… We can potentially design companies, organizations, and societies that are more fair, stable and efficient as we get to really understand human physics at this fine-grain scale. This new computational social science offers incredible possibilities." (Sandy Pentland MIT )

Note the word `potentially`.  Like all technological advances big data analytics has the potential for good or ill but is being hijacked by the global ruling elite.
See `Beyond Broadband: the true cost of digital Britain.`

Daniel Ben-Ami is a writer based in London who has written a book defending economic prosperity: Ferraris for All.  Visit his website here

"What the critics of GDP miss is that economic growth is central to human welfare. Rising output provides the basis for prosperity, including consumer goods and all the other paraphernalia of modern life, such as airports, art galleries, electricity grids, hospitals, museums, roads, power stations, schools and universities. Greater affluence is not the whole story, but it will remain a central part of human advance until global scarcity is abolished."

"Indeed, the critics of GDP are motivated primarily by a hostility to popular prosperity rather than a desire to measure wellbeing accurately. Their approach is essentially a sneaky way of claiming that environmental and social problems mean that economic growth must be curtailed. The possibility that greater affluence would put humans in a stronger position to overcome the challenges they face does not seem to occur to them."

"In retrospect, it is ironic that the EU held its own `Beyond GDP` conference back in 2007. That event was hosted by the European Commission, the European Parliament, the Club of Rome (an organisation that has long promoted the ‘limits to growth’), the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (a think tank) and the WWF (an environmental and wildlife charity). Shortly after the conference, the EU descended into several years of economic stagnation. Austerity, social dislocation, misery and a surge in unemployment were the inevitable results. It is hard to think of a better illustration of what ‘Beyond GDP’ means in practice. (Daniel Ben-Ami )

For another example, see the risk indicators which the Scottish Government will use to profile families. 

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