Really? A Minister of Happiness? A Minister of Loneliness?
But of course! Should we not follow the Brits’ lead? The Emiratis’ lead?
. . . a modern metric of economic wellbeing must include dimensions like happiness and social connection.
. . . [T]he global economy looks healthy. . . . And yet, the world over, people are feeling disconnected, lonely, isolated . . .
. . . Despite having the third largest economy in Europe, Britons report feeling far lonelier than other Europeans. The problem has grown to such a degree that Prime Minister Theresa May appointed a Minister of Loneliness earlier this year.
. . . our current metrics are ill-equipped to register the effects of social isolation — so much so that both the British Minister of Loneliness and newly appointed Minister of Happiness for the UAE have identified one of largest hurdles in their new positions to be a lack of data. . . .
. . . Encouragingly, a handful of countries, including Bhutan, UAE, and Ecuador, have also developed metrics for ‘National Happiness Indexes.’ Yet by and large, governments haven’t significantly revised metrics like GDP, fearing a dent to their perceived prosperity.
. . . On March 18, 1968, 50 years ago today, the fight to reform metrics of national health and wealth found an unlikely champion: then-US Presidential contender Bobby Kennedy. In a stirring speech at the University of Kansas, he said that Gross National Product counts “air pollution and cigarette advertising” but “does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”
And here is the 2018 World Happiness Report, ranking 156 countries, from Finland to Burundi (see page 20). The US is #18, behind, among others, Canada, Israel, Australia, Iceland, Costa Rica, and Germany.