Every community, country and society wants the best for its members. However, as I have already mentioned in the past, the concept of “well-being” is anything but easy to define. Economists have found a partial answer with the Gross Domestic Product, the market value of all officially recognised goods and services produced within a country. Yet, as many people believe, GDP is not necessarily a “measure of all things”.
In the last twenty years, numerous alternatives have been proposed that concentrate on themes that interest me, such as sustainability. A recent successful example called Equitable and Sustainable Well-being (BES), comes from Italy. This index was compiled by Istat and Cnel, and takes many dimensions into account such as health, the environment, education and training.
It is an all Italian effort to free people from the “dictatorship” of GDP – an indispensable index nevertheless –, which joins other experimental and internationally “respected” indicators such as the Gpi, (Genuine progress indicator), the Index of sustainable economic welfare or the Happy planet index.
The idea that unites them all, and which I continue to strongly believe in, is that there are different kinds of growth: the kind we need to move towards cannot be achieved by choking our children’s prospects, but by laying the foundations for them to live in a future that is at least as satisfactory as our present.