Subject Well Being as an Economic Indicator

2834 Words12 Pages
There is an ethical and moral assumption that governmental policy attempts to benefit the public by providing a high ‘quality of life’. Most governments attempt to offer its citizenry a broad range of policies that will ensure both a stable economy and agreeable social conditions. However, if we accept that governmental policy is aimed at increasing the quality of life, then there must be measurable indicators that represent these attempts. Quite often the most accepted measure of ‘quality of life’ is the amount of money an individual has and the access he or she has to goods and services. Current economic indicators represent a wide range of demographic, financial and market driven measurements. In particular, the Gross Domestic Product, GPD, is used as the most frequent gauge of a country’s economic success and well being of the people (Coombs, 2006). Nevertheless, questions must be raised as to whether the GDP or any other objective indicators truly reflect the quality of life of an individual (Shackman, Liu, & Wang, 2005). Whether an individual reacts positively or negatively to life’s experiences, all of life’s experiences are ultimately appraised. The perception that one’s life is ‘good’ or ‘not so good’ is invariably based on an individual’s personal interpretation of his or her experiences. While the current economic indicators have served countries well in determining the success of governmental policy in the past (Diener & Seligman, 2004), current indicators do not truly represent the individual’s subjective interpretation of his or her life; furthermore, an alternative approach to the measurement of ‘quality of life’ would be better achieved through the measurement of an individual’s subjective well being. To fully appreciate the complexity of this argument, this essay will fully explore and define the concept of subjective well being and the
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