In the UK, Jo Swinson, MP for East Dunbartonshire, has recently tabled an Early Day Motion in parliament calling for “official and regularly conducted statistics on national happiness and well-being” to be introduced. You can build on this initiative and take action by writing to your MP or parliamentary representative to ask them to lobby for National Accounts of Well-being in your country.
When you write, you may want to consider making the following points:
- National Accounts of Well-being provide the best way for governments to discover if their actions actually improve the lives of their citizens. While enormous attention is paid to GDP as a headline indicator, it values only crude increases in income with no regard for whether they actually correspond to improvements in people’s welfare or how fairly resources are distributed.
- Directly measuring people’s experiences of their lives overcomes many of these problems. Paying direct attention to the well-being of populations is the only way in which societies can truly assess whether the lives of their members are going well or badly. The measurements therefore provide a new and more meaningful measure of societal progress.
- A growing international movement shows that time for National Accounts of Well-being has now come. In the last two years, the OECD, the President of the European Commission and the French President Nicholas Sarkozy have all demonstrated their support for the development of new headline indicators which take a much broader view of national success
- Ask your representative to make the establishment of National Accounts of Well-being a political priority to ensure that they are implemented by government.
- [If you’re in the UK] Also request that your MP signs Early Day Motion number 232, recently submitted to the House of Commons, which calls for ‘official and regularly conducted statistics on national happiness and well-being’.