HPI vs GDP“Let’s today step out of the normal boundaries of analysis of our economic crisis and ask a radical question: What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall – when Mother Nature and the market both said: No more”.

Thomas Friedman (“The inflection is near?”, The New York Times, 8 March)

One of the recurring themes in this blog deals with new ways of understanding economic growth. During the last months, articles related to the green economy, the sustainable economy or even the decrement. Other topics that bring the environmental variable closer to the configuration of new economic activities have also been reviewed, such as the eco-innovation or the ecological products.

Following this line, the time has come to discuss other ways of measuring the development of a country or a society, presenting alternatives that can challenge the centrality of GDP as the main objective of current economic policies.

Aspirations of US students in The Happy Planet Index 2.0

One of these alternatives is offered by NEF (New Economics Foundation) through the Happy Planet Index (HPI). This index contemplates health and life satisfaction as the main objectives of the human being, considering the natural resources on which we depend as fundamental factors to consider. In short, the HPI conveys that a full society is one that can maintain good life experiences without implying an unaffordable cost to the planet. Thus, what the HPI attempts to measure is progress toward that goal: progress in eco-efficiency that is capable of sustaining healthy and fulfilling lives.

The components of the HPI are: life expectancy; life satisfaction; and the ecological footprint. The number one country in the ranking: Costa Rica. Spain is in position number 76. The full report can be consulted on the NEF page: The Happy Planet Index 2.0.

I leave you with Nic Marks, one of the authors of the document: