OECD World Forum 2012 confirms that world has embraced new measures of progress Reply

At a World Forum of leading economists, chief national statisticians, and many other experts, organized by the OECD and the Government of India, it became clear that new ways of measuring overall progress — in parallel to, or even in replacement of, the GDP — have now became mainstream.

Speakers [including Alan AtKisson, lead author of Life Beyond Growth] reported on dozens of projects at the national government level to measure national wellbeing, by both objective and subjective means, and sometimes the two in combination. While challenges remain, both technical and political, alternative measurements have achieved a level of momentum and global critical mass that appears irreversible. The indicators are also grappling with system sustainability issues such as future risk (in general terms), and with the factors and policies that produce better outcomes, using these new measures.

Speakers also outlined the needs, both political and research-oriented, for further development. For example, environmental measures still lack the robustness needed to “dialogue” effectively with the GDP, said the European Commissioner for Environment, Karl Falkenberg. And measures of social wealth are still far from parity with measures of economic wealth in technical terms.

But the direction of change is now well-established. Materials from this conference, including speaker presentations, are available at the conference website: http://www.oecd.org/site/worldforumindia/

In Japan, Over 22 Local Governments Prepare Happiness Indices Reply

Japan for Sustainability (“JFS”) reports that over 22 local governments are now in the process of developing new measures of well-being, happiness, or “true wealth,” including both cities and prefectural governments. These projects include the cities of Kyoto and Sapporo (the capital of Hokkaido), Arakawa City in Tokyo, and a group of 13 prefectures who are jointly collaborating to produce a “Local Hope Index.” These results are reported in the context of Japan for Sustainability’s survey of 101 local governments.

JFS is a non-governmental organization that is closely allied with the Institute for Studies in Happiness, Economy, and Society (ISHES), sponsor of the Life Beyond Growth report.

For information on the Japanese local government happiness initatives, see this archived issue of the JFS newsletter:


For general information about JFS:  http://www.japanfs.org/en/