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I'm not so sure that this approach will lead to an improvement in overall well-being. If you come up with these three or four labels of "basic factors" in wealth, and then build a system that trades them against each other, then you will end up basically where we are now.

Where is the "happiness" factor, the "family togetherness" factor, the "pleasant landscape" factor, the "pleasant philosophical discussion" factor, the "educational background that enables reasoned debate" factor?

On the one had, everyone needs food, shelter, and clothing. Anything beyond those basic needs for physical survival must be traded off against the philosophical factors. For example, is a Buddhist monk more or less happy than a Wall Street banker? The monk uses (a lot) less of all of the basic factors that you list, and is, arguably, better off. Society needs to have that argument, of course, but if the answer is that the banker is better off, then we are back to where we started.

by asdf on Sun Sep 2nd, 2012 at 07:00:43 PM EST

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