25 Oct 2007 @ 11:51 by shreepal : Progress: Affluence versus well being
a-d thanks for the great query. Let me put the whole thing in my own way. Each passing day is nearing us a new civilization; constant change in Nature is the law of universal application, much like we hear of scientific laws, say the law of conservation of energy. Pointing out this natural principle is not a great discovery but it is really a discovery of significance to point out that the humans have a decisive capability and role to determine the direction of this change. But this discovery is also an old one. What is new one in this respect is this: today given the totally new realities of critical importance (like earth environment, nature of wars etc.) it is the humans who are decesively in control today of this universal change, in so far as it relates to our earth. Therefore, we owe a duty, individually at personal level and collectively at the social level, to move to ensure that these rapid changes are not allowed to happen in a drifting manner, which is the case today. In am talking in the global context. Then, what exactly is to be done? We have to realize and fight for certain things of critical importance. The first thing to realize in the context of development, which I referred in my comment, is that the direction of this change - of this progress - is not to create a society of affluence but of well being. It makes a lot of difference to gear the society towards generating wealth or gearing it to secure human well being. I have seen the links you provided and i found a lot of people are doing wonderful things in the right direction. We need to support them and give them a helping hand. Such people are sowing the seeds of a new civilization that will bear sweet fruits one day. In fact, we are nearing a step towards the new civilization with each passing day by the work of such people. There will not be a single day when we open our eyes suddwnly in a new - better - civilization. It is happening just now in the midst of current things, amid the stumbling sour odds and freshingly sweet things spurring the awaiting moment.
Integrated human wellbeing of citizens and not their material affluence alone is the standard of progress and development, which only may be acceptable to New Civilization we are talking of all along in these pages. Material affluence of individuals or their nation is a crude and primitive standard of progress. All economics geared to accomplish this feat in individuals' or nations' life is hollow in its ideal and superficial in its achievement. The prime fruit of new civilization shall be the integrated well being of its citizens. This wellbeing is a concrete and objective thing, which can be measured. Affluence of a nation or of an individual is well studied subject of our old civilization and it is measured by its economics. What is an integrated human wellbeing? Can it be measured? Yes, it can also be measured by an objective test. INDEX OF INTEGRATED HUMAN WELLBEING: This index is a measure of human beings' individual and collective well being in relation to his self and to his surroundings. This index is the measure of health of 1) human 2) his own created circumstances in which he places himself; and 3) Nature. These three may be termed as 1) human self wellbeing 2) his material wellbeing; and 3) Earth's wellbeing. Human wellbeing has three elements: 1) his physical well being 2) his emotional wellbeing; and 3) his mental wellbeing. All these three elements of human wellbeing are the subject matter of medical science and are well defined today by it. It is not the physical wellbeing alone, which is the disease-free state of human body, that consumes the entire spectrum of human wellbeing. One has to be emotionally healthy also, which is distinct from though connected to the physical wellbeing of humans, to be really adjudged as having made progress or development. And then, it is not these two elements alone that are necessary for an integrated wellbeing. We have to secure to our citizens the mental wellbeing also before we can claim our society has made a progress. Material wellbeing has three elements, viz. 1) Production - gross national wealth indicator of the given society 2) Distribution - indicator of this wealth's distribution among its citizens; and 3) citizens' wealth consumption indicator. Nature's wellbeing also has three elements; 1) Negative impact of human beings' activities on Nature 2) Sustainable or neutral impact of these activities on Nature' and 3) Positive impact of them on Nature, that is, these activities not only conserve Nature's health and state but they further suppliment or augument them. Nature's well being has direct bearing on human wellbeing and is a very important element of integrated human wellbeing or his true progress, which our egoistic society is vainly claimimg to have made. New civilization Zones, as and when established even in an scattered fashion here and there on Earth, would be the only place to secure this true progress to their citizens. Our present civilization, which is given to produce imbalanced material affluence and accompanying social conflicts in the society, give birth to disturbed emotional and mental state of its citizens as the concomitant byproduct of this material affluence and injure the health of Nature (Earth's environment) can never provide this true progress to its citizens.
It is the duty of international community of enlightened citizens to insist upon their respective national governments and the relevant international organizations to discard the old index of partial development, like Gross National Product, Per Capita Income, Rate of Growth of National Economy etc. etc., and to refine, define and adopt the Integral Index of Human Wellbeing. Judged by this new index many political communities that are regarded as highly developed ones would go down on the scale as merely developing ones because of the ill health of their citizens' emotional and mental beings and assault by their activities on Nature and conversely, and surprizingly, many others now regarded as under-developed or undeveloped would go up the scale. We would find their citizens are more happy and satisfied in their human existence and that they do not injure Nature (that includes Earth and its environment) in the least, unlike the today's developed ones.