The Happy Planet Index?

We have entered an era where a variety of organizations -- be they in the private or public sectors, or some combination of both -- attempt to quantify a range of socio-economic and/or environmental factors. In many (if not most) cases, serious concerns exist because the work is attempting to translate complex qualitative variables into single quantitative measures (witness my recent discussion on this site regarding problems with the Nuclear Annihilation Threat Index). The work would be even less troubling if such indices were not being used in attempts to shape policy, legislation, and even constitutional revisions in western democracies. The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is produced by the New Economics Foundation. As we learn about the HPI, we see that the index purports to be: "measure[ing] what matters: the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, sustainable lives for the people that live in them ... it ranks countries on how many long and happy lives...(Read Full Post)