Statisticians Turn To Happiness For Advice

Grasping for new ways to define progress in a society, statisticians are increasingly turning to outside-the-box barometers, like Gross National Happiness, to measure a country's true well-being.

Economics progress, long one of the few or only indicators western countires have used to gauge their advancement at the national or the indiivdual level, is being questioned in the wake of the financial crisis. Deep moral and ethical hazards have been exposed that run to the heart of what drives people to make money. As the world economy sits in intensive care, the debate over just how much progress money-making creates has been brought into question.

One sign of high-level change in economic thinking can be seen in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development's Global Project on Measuring the Progress of Societies which uses economic, social and environmental critieria to re-assess what "progress" means across the globe.

France has a Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, a body commissioned by Sarkovy and chaired by uber-economist Joseph Stiglitz to measure well-being in France's increasingly fractious society.

Obama is expected to follow with a commission of his own, but in the meantime there is The State of the USA which Big Think's David Walker endorsed saying it produced "scientifically grounded, and widely shared quality information on where we are and where we are going."

If big thinkers have any suggestions for new indicators we may use to measure ourselves, we encourage you to propose and debate them here.

Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less

Why Lil Dicky made this star-studded Earth Day music video

"Earth" features about 30 of the biggest names in entertainment.

Culture & Religion
  • Lil Dicky is a rapper and comedian who released his debut album in 2015.
  • His new music video, "Earth," features artists such as Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Ed Sheehan, Kevin Hart, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
  • All proceeds of the music video will go to environmental causes, Dicky said.
Keep reading Show less

After death, you’re aware that you’ve died, say scientists

Some evidence attributes a certain neurological phenomenon to a near death experience.

Credit: Petr Kratochvil.
Surprising Science

Time of death is considered when a person has gone into cardiac arrest. This is the cessation of the electrical impulse that drive the heartbeat. As a result, the heart locks up. The moment the heart stops is considered time of death. But does death overtake our mind immediately afterward or does it slowly creep in?

Keep reading Show less

Behold, the face of a Neolithic dog

He was a very good boy.

Image source: Historic Environment Scotland
Surprising Science
  • A forensic artist in Scotland has made a hyper realistic model of an ancient dog.
  • It was based on the skull of a dog dug up in Orkney, Scotland, which lived and died 4,000 years ago.
  • The model gives us a glimpse of some of the first dogs humans befriended.
Keep reading Show less