Society

World Was the Happiest in 1978, Says Report

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There are many factors that go into happiness, which makes it difficult to estimate how content the world is. But one study done by Australian experts found that the happiest time in the world was 1978.

They used a new method to determine the social and economic progress of the world, including lifestyle factors and ecological factors.

Previously, assessing the Gross Domestic product (GDP) was the way to determine the happiness of the world. This only measured money spent and earned in a society. But the new study explained that this is very limited, as it considers any type of spending an indicator of happiness.

"GDP was never designed to measure social or economic welfare, and yet, today, it is the most commonly used indicator of a country's overall performance," Dr. Ida Kuniszewski, the study leader, said. 

Kuniszewski said a more accurate estimate of how happy the world is to take into account economy, the state of the environment and society.

The type of measurement they used was the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI).

It uses much of the same figures as GDP, but uses 24 other factors that include crime rates, pollution levels, loss of wetland, car accident rates and the amount of people who volunteer and enjoy housework.

They collected data from 1950 to 2003 and followed 17 countries, which equals half of the world's population.

Researchers determined that the GDP steadily increased, but the GDI increased in 1978 and decreased ever since.

The world's social and environmental problems seem to have canceled out any monetary wealth increase.

"A lot of people working in the field were pretty sure it happened, but it didn't get detected in GDP," Jacqueline McGlade of University College in London said. 

But, they said, the study does not necessarily apply to those living in developing countries.

"If you look at the broader picture of things that contribute to a quality of life, I think there's no doubt that the average person in developing countries is better off than in the 1970s," Marianne Fay, Chief Economist for the World's Bank's Sustainable Development Network, said.  

Sources: Daily Mail