Posts Tagged ‘Happy Planet Index’

Happy in Haiti

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

The Happy Planet Index is at it again! When your criteria on happiness is “measure what matters: the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, sustainable lives for the people that live in them”, you really must come up with some crazy crap, like this equation,

Which, translated into practical terms means that if you have very very low expectations and live for a long time without electricity or running water, you’ll score really high.

How Cuba Became a ‘Happy’ Country
Citizens flee on rafts. But environmentalists know better.

The Happy Planet Index hasn’t been composed by some lonely obsessive living with his mother and boring a very small number of readers in a rarely visited corner of the Internet. No, the Happy Planet Index has been produced by the New Economics Foundation, a think tank with an annual budget of more than $3.9 million and a staff of more than 50. They may be as mad as a box of frogs, but these people are well-funded and influential.

They are also playing with taxpayers’ money. One of the New Economics Foundation’s biggest donors in 2010-11—giving them more than $155,000—was the British government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs paid more than $90,000 for another project in 2009 in which the New Economics Foundation produced a report—”Moments of change as opportunities for influencing behaviour”—which looked to Communist Cuba for an example of “mass efficiency improvement.”

Cuba, by the way, ranks 12th on the Happy Planet scale.

Reports like the Happy Planet Index claim to show us a different way of measuring success that “puts current and future well-being at the heart of measurement.” But there’s a reason Cubans regularly risk (and lose) their lives trying to escape their home country and make it to America, and there’s no waves of humanity flowing in the opposite direction. That the Happy Planet Index can’t capture those realities, or chooses to ignore them, suggests, well, that its authors are living on another planet.

No, just a planet with a well-funded agenda…in rooms with central heat; the NEF’s contact phone number is country code 44, for the United Kingdom & the Isle of Man.

They must be miserable!


(more…)

Happy Planet: Cuba’s the 7th happiest country in the world

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

Via Memeorandum, an article in the Guardian’s “ethical living” category:

Costa Rica is world’s greenest, happiest country
Latin American nation tops index ranking countries by ecological footprint and happiness of their citizens

Costa Rica is indeed a lovely place, even when Mel Zelaya wasn’t all that happy about being sent there, so I was curious about the rest of the top-10 countries, which are rated

The HPI measures how much of the Earth’s resources nations use and how long and happy a life their citizens enjoy as a result. First calculated in 2006, the second edition adds data on almost all the world’s countries and now covers 99% of the world’s population.

NEF says the HPI is a much better way of looking the success of countries than through standard measures of economic growth. The HPI shows, for example, that fast-growing economies such as the US, China and India were all greener and happier 20 years ago than they are today.

“The HPI suggests that the path we have been following is, without exception, unable to deliver all three goals: high life satisfaction, high life expectancy and ‘one-planet living’,” says Saamah Abdallah, NEF researcher and the report’s lead author. “Instead we need a new development model that delivers good lives that don’t cost the Earth for all.”

Looking at the list, here are the top-15:

  1. Costa Rica
  2. Dominican Republic
  3. Jamaica
  4. Guatemala
  5. Vietnam
  6. Colombia
  7. Cuba
  8. El Salvador
  9. Brazil
  10. Honduras
  11. Nicaragua
  12. Egypt
  13. Saudi Arabia
  14. Phillipines
  15. Argentina

Contrast that with the Freedom Index:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. Singapore
  3. Australia
  4. Ireland
  5. New Zealand
  6. United States
  7. Canada
  8. Denmark
  9. Switzerland
  10. United Kingdom
  11. Chile
  12. Netherlands
  13. Estonia
  14. Iceland
  15. Luxenburg

Not much in common between those two, but I assure you I would rather live here than in, say, Saudi Arabia. How politically-incorrect of me.

Cuba is #177 in the Freedom Index, third from the bottom, just slightly ahead of Zimbabwe and North Korea.  To understand why, check out The Cuba Archive and then read through Yoani Sanchez’s posts at Generation Y.

It’s not going to be happy reading.

UPDATE, Sunday 5 July
Gateway Pundit has a picture of happiness.