Should Happiness be our Real GDP?

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As I’ve mentioned in “How to Live Well After the Digital Revolution“, happiness should be our true ethical compass.  Given how much time we spend at work and how closely our lives are tied into the economics of this country, and the world, shouldn’t our financial policy represent this?
Ecological economist Dave Batker, whom I recently heard interviewed by Faith Middleton, proposes we drop GDP as a measure of our national success in favor of quality of life indexes.  Infinite economic expansion and the reliance on consumer culture is not a sustainable model for financial stability according to Batker, and it really doesn’t help us live better lives either.
Here’s an excerpt from his film What’s the Economy for, Anyway?  (You can actually watch it all on YouTube.) Take a look to see how some of the ideas I propose can be integrated into our society in a way that suits our modern sensibilities.

Remember that the economy should work for us; we should not work for it at the expense of living well.

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What is Union?

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What does this word mean? It’s pretty contentious to most people. The presidential candidates are really worried about what unions think of them. The Chicago Board of Education is not terribly happy about their teachers’ union right now. If you want to rap about words for a bit, Communism isn’t a terribly popular idea in this country. And only dirty hippies live in communes.

There are some positive associations with the word Union and its derivatives, however.

1. Communication between parties and people helps solve problems.
2. For many Christians, communion is a chance to get to know and form a relationship with Jesus.
3. The Constitution calls us to form a more civil union.
4. Living in a good community helps people to relax and enjoy life.
5. Marriage is considered a sacred union between two people.

The word Union has a lot of clout. At its best, it connotes feelings of togetherness, mutual support, and love. As a writer and thinker, I see the word as a tool to strengthen these sentiments between myself and others.

We’ll explore Union in much more detail on this blog. How do you perceive and use the word?