I think this is a great idea. For the last 200 years, one of the central tenets of economics has been the assumption that higher productivity improves our wellbeing. And when we were developing countries struggling to overcome poverty, this was indisputably true. But what if the relationship between GDP and human wellbeing no longer holds? Wouldn't we be better off measuring how happy our societies are, and gearing our economic policies toward maximizing happiness rather than maximizing GDP?Starting next month, the government will pose the following questions and ask people to respond on a scale of zero to 10: How happy did you feel yesterday? How anxious did you feel yesterday? How satisfied are you with your life nowadays? To what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?
Scarcely extraordinary, but Andrew Oswald, a happiness economics expert at the University of Warwick, suggested the questions were a good start, although he would have added, “How well have you been sleeping?” — an important mental health indicator — and “How pressurized do you feel your time is?”
The important thing, he argues, it to shift “from the concept of financial prosperity to the idea of emotional prosperity.” Perhaps that’s the 21st-century indicator we need: gross emotional prosperity, or G.E.P.
The Happynomics of Life