Sat 11-02-2017 22:45 PM

Human feelings serve as emerging benchmark of good governance, Global Dialogue for Happiness learns

DUBAI, 11th February, 2017 (WAM)--The science behind human happiness and feelings is being increasingly used to formulate government policy, said Professor Andrew Oswald, Professor of Economics and Behavioural Science at the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, during the Global Dialogue for Happiness held in Dubai ahead of World Government Summit 2017.

Prof. Oswald, who studies job satisfaction, human happiness, unemployment and other topics that impact human life, was presenting a speech titled ‘Is Happiness the New GDP?’ at the full-day event dedicated to the advancement of human happiness that served as a prelude to the fifth World Government Summit commencing February 12.

Prof. Oswald explained, "My research group has been working on what we now call the Economics of Happiness for 25 to 30 years, and it is interesting to see these ideas are now coming to the forefront of government policy.

"This is natural, and at the same time a paradox, since we know that human feelings are at the very foundation of our existence and sense of well-being. Yet, we continue to measure progress in terms of a number– Gross Domestic Product – rather than on feelings that are more relevant to our lives."

Prof. Oswald referred to his own country - the United Kingdom - as an example of a country now using different data in governmental decision making.

He said, "As governments are becoming more interested in the science behind a society's collective feelings, statisticians, both in public and private sectors, are focussing on its relevance more than ever before. In the UK, we now collect data on satisfaction, happiness, anxiety and how individuals consider their lives worthwhile, as a composite part of official national statistics. This is authorised data now and it points to a future that many other countries may follow."

Prof. Oswald, who sees happiness as a much superior marker than wealth, said, "When we get wealthy, as a person and a society, we compare ourselves all the time to others. You already have your basic needs and it becomes impossible for the group to get any happier because all you can do is compare."

The World Government Summit (WGS) 2017 has drawn the participation of more than 4,000 personalities from 139 countries around the world, reflecting the leading stature of the summit on regional and international levels and the high interest from governments, global organisations, private and public sector entities, decision makers, entrepreneurs, academics and university students as well as scientists and innovators.

WGS 2017 features 150 speakers across 114 sessions that highlight the world’s most pressing challenges and showcase best practices and cutting-edge solutions to deal with them.