Well-Being Economy Starting with a Holistic Understanding of Well-Being

The GHFP Research Institute is delighted to become a part of the growing global Wellbeing Economy Alliance. We look forward to learning from, supporting, and contributing to the Alliance’s effort.

Well-being studies is an exciting multi and inter-disciplinary field. Social scientists from around the world are gathering measurements of well-being so that the resulting data can help improve social policies. However, the field is flawed because it tends to rely on a truncated account of well-being, often implicitly based on neoclassical economic assumptions. It excludes or minimises the normative aspect of well-being, thereby depriving the concept of its potentially transformative force. It reduces human well-being to a single central notion, such as happiness or desire rankings, resulting in an impoverished conception of human life. Any empirical investigations into well-being must start with a holistic and transformative understanding of well-being located in the lived experience of being human.

For these reasons, the GHFP has developed such an innovative framework to understand human well-being, which distinguishes what constitutes holistic human well-being from the structural conditions that shape our good life and contribute to happiness. Our focus on what constitutes well-being provides a radical new approach to empirical research. It can serve as the basis for developing well-being indicators to inform national and global policy priorities, and evaluating the effects of these policies through the lenses of the quality of human well-being.

Thus our work seeks to move away from an economic domination in the considerations in all social spaces towards the possibilities of well-being beyond instrumentalisation or commodification.

Our book entitled: HAPPINESS, FLOURISHING & THE GOOD LIFE: A TRANSFORMATIVE VISION OF HUMAN WELL-BEING is in print by Routledge.