Alternative Measures of Human Well-Being

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List of alternative indicators to GDP. The assessment is by the Continuum Development Index, who promotes its own 'multigenerational' CDI indicator:


By [1]:


Inclusive Wealth - Metric


GNH – Gross National Happiness


  • GNH Strengths: measures economic, environmental, physical, mental, workplace, social and political wellness.
  • Weaknesses: relies on surveys of personal wellbeing, which do not cross cultural boundaries, therefore are not ubiquitous; not social/multigenerational or actionable.



HDI – Human Development Index


  • Human-development-index-hdi-in-2002 Strengths: measures life expectancy, literacy, education and standards of living; ubiquitous.
  • Weaknesses: not social/multigenerational, psychological or actionable; uses GDP as a measure for standard of living.



HPI – Happy Planet Index


  • Happy Planet index Strengths: ubiquitous; accounts for future impact of behavior, utilizing ecological footprint data and Happy Life Years, which measure affluence, security, freedom, social equality, cultural climate, social climate, modernization, population pressure (therefore accounts for impact of past generations).
  • Weakness: relies on subjective surveys of personal wellbeing, which do not cross cultural boundaries, therefore not ubiquitous; not social, actionable; does not measure income inequality, or account for cultural factors such as trust, cohesion and spirituality.




GPI- Genuine Progress Indicator


  • Gpi Strengths: ubiquitous and social; accounts for current/future impact of production/consumption, subtracting from GDP, costs of resource depletion, crime, ozone depletion, family breakdown, air, water, noise pollution, loss of farmland and wetlands and adding home and community economics.
  • Weaknesses: not able to measure the impact of past generations, not actionable, not psychological.


CDI- Continuum Development Index


"The Continuum Development Index (CDI) measures human potential by examining physiological and psychological factors, and recognizing that humanity is a generational continuum, whereby each generation is affected by the last, and affects the next. That is, we cannot concieve of human potential without recognizing the inherently social nature of our species and accounting for the effect our actions have upon the unborn. To do so, we must move beyond GDP.

The CDI replaces:


  • GDP - which only counts financial flows (not well being), is subject to numerous controversial manipulations (CPI, PPP, inflation, hedonics), and ignores the household economy, the black market and the natural economy.
  • Alternative Measures (such as HDI, HPI, GNH and GPI) - which solve for numerous weaknesses of GDP, but do not account for the multigenerational nature of man, nor objectively capture man's psychological well-being."


More Information

  1. P2P Metrics
  2. Global Reporting Initiative