World Happiness Report 2012

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World Happiness Report 2012
Wed 04-04-2012

Travel Impact recently reported that according to the World Happiness Report released this week,  the United States is a key example of a country where material affluence has been accompanied by widening social and economic inequalities, high levels of uncertainties and anxieties, declining social trust and all-time low levels of confidence in government.

The report was published ahead of a meeting on "Happiness and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm."

The meeting brought together hundreds of representatives from governments, religious organizations, academia and civil society to discuss the issue.

Economist Jeffrey Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute, Columbia University, says that the world is at stage where "the lifestyles of the rich imperil the survival of the poor."

"Affluence has created its own set of afflictions and addictions. Obesity, adult-onset diabetes, tobacco-related illnesses, eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, psychosocial disorders, and addictions to shopping, TV, and gambling, are all examples of disorders of development. So too is the loss of community, the decline of social trust, and the rising anxiety levels associated with the vagaries of the modern globalized economy, including the threats of unemployment or episodes of illness not covered by health insurance in the United States."

The President of the General Assembly, Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, emphasized that "today’s unprecedented ecological, economic and social challenges have made the achievement of happiness and well-being an unachievable goal for many."

"It is imperative that we build a new, creative guiding vision for sustainability and our future,” Mr. Al-Nasser said. “One that will bring a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach that will promote sustainability, eradicate poverty and enhance well-being and happiness."

The report makes fascinating reading because it destroys just about all the conventional theories of growth and development.

The fact that American professors are beginning to critically examine their own country’s heavily promoted concepts of running businesses and economies, and find them in sore need of rectification, is a step in the right direction. This trend is now well under way, and irreversible.