An Australian “public interest think-tank”, the Australian Institute, has published “a manifesto for wellbeing”, aimed at making that country a better place. The manifesto ‘s preamble reads:
Australians are three times richer than their parents and grandparents were in the 1950s, but they are no happier. Despite the evidence of a decline in national wellbeing, governments continue to put economic interests first. The obsession with economic growth means other things that could improve our wellbeing are sacrificed.
There is widespread community concern that the values of the market —individualism, selfishness, materialism, competition— are driving out the more desirable values of trust, self-restraint, mutual respect and generosity. Many people feel alienated from the political process; the main parties seem too alike and think of progress only in material terms.
The challenge of our age is to build a new politics that is committed, above all, to improving our wellbeing.
The Manifesto offers the following nine headers:
- Provide fulfilling work
- Reclaim our time
- Protect the environment
- Rethink education
- Invest in early childhood
- Discourage materialism and promote responsible advertising
- Build communities and relationships
- A fairer society
- Measure what matters (wellbeing not GDP)
All of which makes eminent sense. It’s about quality of life, stupid.