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I agree with the productivity point. We certainly do want to increase labor productivity, but people (especially in rich countries) don't necessarily need to enjoy the increase in the form of more material goods and services. We could, alternatively, choose more free time by reducing the work week or lowering the retirement age (see the Greider  "Riding into the Sunset" piece for Robert Fogel's views on material vs. "spiritual" well-being).
by TGeraghty on Sun Jul 24th, 2005 at 10:52:25 PM EST
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You might also check this out, thanks to Paul Rosenberg for posting it:

[T]he whole World Values Survey, which grew out of the European Values Survey in 1981, is concerned with tracking value evolution across the globe, which is commonly seen as a two-step process.  Though it is often simply referred to as "modernization," a more precise description differentiates between two stages.

The first is modernization, which involves the transition from agriculture to industrial societies, dominated by increases in income that translate into increased well-being. The second is post-modernization, which involves a shift in emphasis toward quality of life,  self-expression and self-determination. . . .

The two-phase structure is very evident in the following graph of GNP and perceived well-being:

which is schematized thus:

by TGeraghty on Mon Jul 25th, 2005 at 06:33:00 PM EST
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This comment, in itself, could...and probably should, become a diary all on its own. Very interesting example of a new way to gauge sucess (thanks!)

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Tue Jul 26th, 2005 at 02:36:46 AM EST
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