On Tuesday 21 May, the next in our series of ‘Future for Wales’ sessions turns to the topic of well-being – hosted as usual by The Gate, and beginning at 8.00pm.

Well-being (and/or ‘happiness’) has risen up the political agenda over the last two decades, as dissatisfaction has increased with the idea that measuring economic output (in the shape of GDP) is the best key to the standard of living of a nation.

Global Projections of Subjective Wellbeing
Global Projections of Subjective Wellbeing

This was particularly the case under the New Labour administrations of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who supported the ideas of academics such as Richard Layard on the need to include subjective measures of happiness in social policy. The Coalition government has continued to distinguish income and well-being, with work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith stating that ‘I do believe that increased income and increased wellbeing do not always follow the same track’. A range of indicators, from the quality of people’s relationships with those around them, to the quality of the local environment, have been proposed as ways of measuring the well-being of individuals. These statements, from the Welsh Government’s Social Care strategy [PDF], typify the kinds of concerns at the heart of the well-being agenda:

I am healthy
I am happy
I can learn and develop to my full potential
I can do the things that matter to me
I belong
I have safe and healthy relationships
I can engage and participate
I feel valued in society
My rights are respected
I have voice and control
I am involved in making decisions that affect my life
My individual circumstances are considered
I can speak for myself or have someone who can do it for me
I am supported to work
I have a social life and can be with the people that I choose
I do not live in poverty

There is also evidence, however, to show that there are strong links between environmental sustainability and subjective well-being, as well as between democratic participation and well-being.

This month, we welcome Professor Robin Attfield (Philosophy, Cardiff University), Professor Gareth Williams (Social Sciences, Cardiff University) and Dr Eva Elliott (Social Sciences, Cardiff University) to the Cafe to explore why well-being matters, and what it adds, as a concept, to discussions about the health of communities and particularly in a Welsh context, where the legacy of unemployment on public health has long been of concern. Should well-being remain at the heart of public policy for the future, and if so, what can be done to promote and produce it more effectively?

If you wish to tweet about this Cafe, use the hashtag #cpcwellbeing

Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *