Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Happy Planet Index asks a new sort of question

via the new economics foundation by Juliet Michaelson

Its critics are keen to paint it as a straightforward happiness measure, but the HPI is much more than that.

Lara Hoffmans, writing in Forbes, has been casting a sceptical eye over our Happy Planet Index (HPI), under a wonderfully titled article 'Give Me Tacocopter Or Give Me Death!'­. (She couldn’t contemplate living in a country without the prospect of taco delivery via unmanned helicopter – and yes, this is actually something being developed in the US.)

For those not familiar with it, the HPI is not a straightforward happiness measure. It is an efficiency indicator, showing how much well-being countries achieve per unit of resources they consume. Instead of using GDP as a measure of output it uses average life expectancy and well-being as the end product of a nation. And it uses the resources of the planet that we all share as a fundamental input, because they are vital and finite. It is a global index with scores for nearly 150 countries that we produce every three years, with the next release coming out this June, in the run up to the UN’s Rio +20 conference.

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