Another extract from David Cameron’s LSE talk:
"Capitalism is clearly the greatest agent of human fulfilment that human ingenuity has ever contrived. But capitalism on its own is not enough: an approach that ignores the rest of life is one that is badly misguided. For me, well-being is simply the opposite of the social breakdown that we see all around us in countless daily manifestations… crime and anti-social behaviour, rudeness and incivility, litter on the streets and a transport system which makes it such a hassle to get around.
For me, well-being means a determination to improve the quality of life for everyone in our country. Let me demonstrate my point with a quotation I am fond of from Robert Kennedy:
“Our gross national product… if we should judge America by that – counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman’s rifle and Speck’s knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.”
Those words have a special relevance for Britain today.
Over the last ten years we have fallen in the league tables of quality of life. For example, the UN’s Human Development Index, devised by Amartya Sen and Mahbub ul Haq, found that quality of life in the UK has fallen from 10th in the world a decade ago to 18th in the world today. That is a terrible finding."
Mr Cameron identified action on family life, the quality of the environment, inequality, health and trust networks in society as all essential to improve General Well-Being. This week’s Gummer-Goldsmith report is expected to recommend that some sort of Happy Planet Index is introduced the measure improvements and declines in the national quality of life.