Pursuit of Happiness Day

This article made me so glad, I just had to share it:
Vermont and Bhutan have embraced happiness rather than GDP as a measure of social success. The world's happiest countries share surprising characteristics - a small gap between rich and poor; work-life balance; urban design favoring community over cars; high degrees of interpersonal trust; a strong social safety net, and the highest tax rates in the world.
In our GDP measurements, many things essential to wellbeing - housework, volunteering, natural beauty, good health, etc. - are not counted at all. GNH (Gross National Happiness) surveys measure the wellbeing and happiness of its people by quantifying progress in nine areas of life considered especially important for happiness, including: physical health; mental health; education; quality of governance; social support and community vitality; environmental quality; time balance; access to arts, culture and recreation, and material wellbeing. (Denmark ranks #1 and US is only #17)  [Where would NJ rank?]
In the past couple of decades, a new science of happiness, driven by advances in positive psychology and extensive studies of the brain, has allowed researchers to more thoroughly understand happiness and its roots in both public policy and human behavior.
At a time when so much of our news is a litany of inequality and environmental destruction, making happiness our goal instead of more money, stuff and consumerism is common sense. The scientific evidence shows that social connection, participation, good
health and access to nature matter far more for wellbeing than an ever-growing GDP.
(All above samples are from the article.) This humanitarian ideal should be part of every Green platform.
Bill

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  • From the GP Platform: ECONOMIC JUSTICE AND SUSTAINABILITY

    Our government’s top economic goal — increasing Gross Domestic Product — impels us to perpetually intensify our resource use and environmental destruction.

    Green economic policy places value not just on material wealth, but on the things which truly make life worth living — our health, our relationships, our communities, our environment, and building peace and justice throughout our nation and the world. We aim to maximize our quality of life with a minimum of consumption. We aspire to less “stuff” but more happiness. We propose a shift away from materialism to help people live more meaningful lives as we save the planet from climate change and ever-larger mountains of waste. We need to acquire the ability to distinguish between need and greed.

    Unlike other political parties in the modern era, the Green Party views economics not as an end in itself but as a service to community development through the building and strengthening of community bonds that constitute the social fabric.

    We call for an economic system that is based on a combination of private businesses, decentralized democratic cooperatives, publicly owned enterprises, and alternative economic structures. Collectively, this system puts human and ecological needs alongside profits to measure success, and maintains accountability to communities.

    The Green Party supports methods, such as the Index of Social Health Indicators, the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare, and the Genuine Progress Indicator, that take into account statistics on housing, income, and nutrition.

    One way to measure the economy is to assess the value of non-monetary goods and services and measure the rate of infant mortality, life expectancy of people, educational opportunities offered by the state, family stability, environmental data, and health care for all people. Another measure is to quantify human benefit (in terms of education, health care, elder care, etc.) provided by each unit of output. Measuring the gap between the most fortunate and the least fortunate in our society, for example, tells us how well or poorly we are doing in creating an economy that does not benefit some at the expense of others.