Why Happiness matters more than economic growth
15 Mar 2018 | Florence Scialom (Network of Wellbeing) & Emma Seery (Happy City)
Every year in March, the world celebrates International
Day of Happiness.
It is a moment to celebrate those things that bring us joy, and
to reflect on how we can invest in a happy and fulfilling life.
At a personal level, the day reminds us to do those simple
things that make us most happy: smile, share, be grateful, spend
time in nature and with friends and family. And at the collective
level, we are reminded to reflect on larger questions around what
really makes for a happier society and how we can move towards
This year, Happy City and the Network
of Wellbeing (NOW) are inviting you to reflect on the links
between your personal happiness and how we measure societal
The best things in life aren't
"The best things in life aren't things" and on reflection we can
see that those things which make our lives happy are often beyond a
price tag or financial value.
We are big advocates of personal happiness and wellbeing and we
also think it is important to reflect on some of the bigger forces
at work in our society and our economy that determine the
conditions needed for everyone to truly thrive.
This year, International Day of Happiness falls just after
the 50 year anniversary of Robert Kennedy's speech at the University of
Kansas, where he called out the inadequacy of GDP as a measure of
And despite these progressive ideas, articulated at the highest
level by a prospective Presidential candidate, half a century later
we haven't quite found an alternative.
Let's focus on what makes life
Gross domestic product (GDP) is still a guiding principle for
many decisions that determine the reality in our local areas across
the world. It's still given the top billing as a measure of
prosperity. But it misses so much.
Kennedy didn't mince his words when he explained this, saying
"...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"
What makes you
So this year, we're inviting you to tap into your own poetry -
and hopefully your great photography skills - and join our photo
We are looking for great photos showing what the current
economic model is missing. What makes you #HappyBeyondGDP?
You can submit your entry to the photo competition here. Or submit it directly on Twitter or
Instagram - just post your entries with a short story using the
hashtag #HappyBeyondGDP and with
@happycityUK and @NetwrkWellbeing tagged.
One lucky winner will receive a £50 voucher to invest in more
Join a free
If photography isn't your thing, you can also join the next free
Network of Wellbeing webinar, with Happy City's Liz Zeidler, to
discuss the problems with the current economic model of measuring
progress only in terms of GDP, and the potential solutions.
Register for free here.