Economics Is Broken

Annika Neklason in The Atlantic:

For years, the government of Bhutan has enshrined gross national happiness as its guiding light. Though national leaders had long eschewed traditional economic metrics like gross domestic product in favor of a more subjective understanding of development, in 2008, the country’s constitution formally established that ensuring “a good quality of life for the people of Bhutan” would be its primary aim. GNH would be the measure of the country’s progress, quantified by a complicated index based on “areas of psychological well being, cultural diversity and resilience, education, health, time use, good governance, community vitality, ecological diversity and resilience and economic living standards”—an array of factors that might all together quantify well-being and happiness.

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in 2011 that praised Bhutan’s efforts. It also recognized that “the gross domestic product indicator by nature was not designed to and does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of people in a country” and that “a more inclusive, equitable and balanced approach to economic growth that promotes sustainable development, poverty eradication, happiness and well-being of all peoples” was needed.

Gene Sperling, who served as an economic adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and frequently contributes to The Atlantic, has come to the same conclusion.

More here.