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The Science of Wellbeing

Citation

Alexandrova, A and Fabian, M, The Science of Wellbeing, John Templeton Foundation, United States (2022) [Consultants Report]


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Abstract

In the zeitgeist of the twenty-first century, "wellbeing" occupies a special place. It is an ideal of personal and communal living, as well as a concept to help us move beyond the tired old categories of progress. An oft-cited articulation of this sentiment is Bobby Kennedy’s remarks at the University of Kansas in 1968:

Our gross national product ... counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. Yet the gross national product 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.

Noble words. But despite their intuitive appeal, moving beyond GDP has been slow in theory as well as in practice. This is in part because what exactly wellbeing is and how we should measure it remains elusive. Certainly not for lack of effort. The last thirty years have seen a huge rise of investigations into wellbeing in the social sciences and humanities. This academic work has been institutionalized, with new journals, professional societies, and research centers. It is now making successful inroads into the worlds of public policy, commercial self-help, and HR management.

Noble words. But despite their intuitive appeal, moving beyond GDP has been slow in theory as well as in practice. This is in part because what exactly wellbeing is and how we should measure it remains elusive. Certainly not for lack of effort. The last thirty years have seen a huge rise of investigations into wellbeing in the social sciences and humanities. This academic work has been institutionalized, with new journals, professional societies, and research centers. It is now making successful inroads into the worlds of public policy, commercial self-help, and HR management.

Item Details

Item Type:Consultants Report
Keywords:wellbeing, happiness, positive psychology, happiness economics
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Development studies
Research Field:Poverty, inclusivity and wellbeing
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in human society
UTAS Author:Fabian, M (Mr Mark Fabian)
ID Code:148583
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:CALE Research Institute
Deposited On:2022-01-25
Last Modified:2022-05-12
Downloads:0

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