The Happy Planet Index

GDP is a good index when it comes to measure nations’ production but is a not good measure of their wealth. One of the most important thing GDP does not account for is sustainability.

Although, including environmental impacts in the measurements still is not enough. Moreover, we can not just rely upon the economic growth of our system as a measure of progress. As many suggest we have to change our national accounting system.

How can we measure progress then?

Social justice, sustainability, life’s expectancy: people’s well being more generally! These are things that should be at the core of national economic policies!

The Happy Planet Index: How successful is nation at providing happy and healthy lives?

This alternative index, created at the New Economic Foundation goes beyond GDP,  is easily calculated as follow:

Happiness = WellBeing x Life Expectancy x Inequality / Ecological Footprint

Therefore, the best countries are the ones that using less resources are achieving the best results in terms of national welfare.



Costa Rica uses a quater of US resource and still is better off.

Most of the western European countries and U.S.A. are way down the chart. In Europe “we have a lot”, however, at a tremendous cost for the planet’s ecosystem. At the top of our chart we find mostly Latin American countries.

In the specific Costa Rica uses a quarter of US resource to provide a better life to its population. Average life is 78 years, they are the happiest place on earth and have one of the highest global literacy rate.



This gives something to think about. Surely the biggest challenge is to help other countries to follow the good example, but this means stop doing business as usual.  An happier planet means a healthier and more sustainable planet. 

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