Why The Future Of Well-Being Isn’t About Money

Why The Future Of Well-Being Isn’t About Money

Non-material factors such as social supports, freedoms, and fairness may play a bigger role than money in future well-being, according to new research.

The work draws on global well-being surveys over the past decade to project potential levels of world happiness in 2050. It suggests that, to improve people’s well-being as much as possible in coming decades, policymakers should look beyond narrow economic calculations and prioritize non-material factors when making big decisions.

“Long-run policies that are overly focused on economic growth will have limited effects on well-being,” says lead author Christopher Barrington-Leigh, an associate professor at the Institute for Health and Social Policy and the School of Environment at McGill University.

“If human well-being is the main goal of governments, their resources would be more wisely spent based on what really matters most for human experience.”

The researchers designed a statistical model that combines two sets of measures:

  • Objective material indicators, including GDP per capita and life expectancy;
  • Social indicators, as measured in the annual Gallup World Poll of recent years; these include freedom to choose what to do with one’s life, perceived levels of government and business corruption, prevalence of donating, and availability of informal social supports.

The global survey data show that, on a scale of zero to 10, respondents on average rated their own well-being at 5.24 in 2016.

The researchers used observed changes in the data from 2005 to 2016 to project scenarios for self-reported life evaluations in 2050.

The results show that future changes in material variables, as the OECD projects, are likely to yield modest improvements in global average life evaluations—an increase of zero to 10 percent above current levels. (The OECD projections use two global economic scenarios, devised to explore possible futures for major environmental challenges including climate change.)


 Get The Latest From InnerSelf


By contrast, scenarios based on non-material variables show a wide range of possible outcomes, from a 30 percent rise in future global average life evaluations in the most optimistic scenario, to a 35 percent drop in the most pessimistic scenario of societal decline.

“Feasible changes in GDP are very unlikely to play an important role in changes in life self-evaluations within 30 years,” says coauthor Eric Galbraith, of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) in Spain.

“Our results show that the greatest benefits to be potentially made over the next decades, as well as the most dangerous pitfalls to be avoided, lie in the domain of social fabric,” the researchers conclude.

The research appears in Nature Communications.

Source: McGill University

Related Books

{amazonWS:searchindex=Books;keywords=wellbeing;maxresults=3}

enafarzh-CNzh-TWnltlfifrdehiiditjakomsnofaptruessvtrvi

follow InnerSelf on

facebook-icontwitter-iconrss-icon

 Get The Latest By Email

{emailcloak=off}

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

Latest Articles & Videos

How To Spot Fake News

How To Spot Fake News

Amy Binns
Even established parties have proven they are not above using tricks to manipulate the news. Meanwhile, politicians are quick to shout “fake news” about anything they disagree with, even accurate stories.

LIVING IN HARMONY

Latest Articles & Videos

British Columbia's Vaping Crackdown Could Offer A Roadmap For The Rest Of The World

British Columbia's Vaping Crackdown Could Offer A Roadmap For The Rest Of The World

Christopher Labos
In Canada, the government of British Columbia is cracking down on vaping products. The plan is to reduce nicotine content, limit access to flavoured pods, mandate plain packaging with health warnings and raise the tax on vaping products to 20 per cent.

SOCIAL & POLITICAL

Latest Articles & Videos

Americans Are Worried About Climate Change, But Underestimate How Serious It Is

Americans Are Worried About Climate Change, But Underestimate How Serious It Is

Bobby Duffy
The world is often better and getting better than people think. Murder rates, deaths from terrorism and extreme poverty are all down.