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如何衡量国民幸福指数 National Happiness Index

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导读:很多国家都将衡量国民幸福指数(National Happiness Index)的工作提上议程。而幸福指数真的会替代国民生产总值成为衡量国家发展程度的标杆吗?


Should we judge the progress of a country based on how happy its people feel instead of economic indicators such as per capita income?
我们是否应该用国民幸福感来代替人均收入等经济指标来衡量一个国家发展水平呢?

This was the question posed by Well-being and Happiness, a high-level meeting which took place at the UN’s General Assembly in New York on April 2.
4月2日,“幸福感”经济会议在纽约联合国总部召开,这一问题也被提上了议程。


Participants at the event discussed a new economic paradigm called Gross National Happiness (GNH) to replace the traditional per capita Gross National Product (GNP) as a gauge of national progress.
与会者就国民幸福总值(缩写为GNH)这一全新经济范式否能取代人均国民生产总值(缩写为GNP)成为衡量国家发展的标尺这一问题展开讨论。


Happiness research, believe it or not, has been one of the hottest fields in development economics.
不管你相信与否,幸福感研究现已成为发展经济学中最热门的领域之一。


More and more economists are committed to studying what constitutes happiness and making recommendations to governments about how best to increase it.
越来越多的经济学家致力于研究幸福感的构成,并向政府提供如何最大程度提高国民幸福感的建议。


Columbia University’s Earth Institute in the US recently published the first World Happiness Report, commissioned by the UN.
美国哥伦比亚大学地球研究所近日受联合国委托,发布了首份《全球幸福指数报告》。


The report finds that the world’s happiest countries are in northern Europe (Denmark, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands) and the most miserable are in Africa (Togo, Benin, Central African Republic, and Sierra Leone).
报告显示,全球最幸福的国家为北欧的丹麦、挪威、芬兰及荷兰,而最不幸福的则是非洲国家多哥、贝宁、中非共和国和塞拉利昂。


The report is one of a number of new products from the happiness industry. According to The Washington Post, a group of experts including Daniel Kahneman, a psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in economics, met last December to draw up measures of “subjective well-being”.
该报告是促进幸福感产业的众多新产品之一。据《华盛顿邮报》报道,去年12月一个专家小组起草了一份“主观幸福感”的测量方法,成员包括曾获诺贝尔经济学奖的心理学家丹尼尔•卡内曼。


The group is financed by the American government, and if its measures are deemed reliable they could become official statistics.
这一专家小组由美国政府资助,如果该测量方法被视为可靠依据,便可能成为官方统计的数据。


If so, the United States would become the latest country to jump aboard the happiness bandwagon.
一旦实现,美国将成为引领幸福感潮流的国家。


According to a recent article on The Economics website, the French government started publishing its own happiness indicator in 2009.
据经济学人网站最新发布的一篇文章报道,法国政府自2009年便开始发布本国的幸福指标。


Britain’s Office for National Statistics has a program for measuring national well-being, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development is drawing up guidelines so its members (mostly the rich, industrialized countries) can produce “well-being data”.
英国国家统计局启动了国民幸福指数测量项目,经济合作发展组织也正在起草一份“幸福指数测算指南”,以便其成员国(多数为富裕的工业化国家)使用。


Happiness researchers break down people’s feelings into “affective happiness” (everyday ups and downs) and “evaluative happiness” (a person’s overall assessment of his or her life).
幸福感研究人员将人的感受分为“情绪幸福”(每日的心情起伏)和“可评估幸福”(一个人对其生活的总体评估)。


They have constructed indicators that look at happiness from different vantage points, using questions such as “How happy were you yesterday?”; “All things considered, how satisfied are you with your life as a whole nowadays?”; and “Taking all things together, would you say you are: very happy, quite happy, not very happy or not at all happy?”
他们设立了各种指标,从不同角度来评估幸福感,问题包括:“你昨天有多快乐?”“综合各方面因素,你对现在的整个生活的满意度如何?”还有“总体来说,你觉得自己:非常快乐、相当快乐、不是很快乐、或者一点都不快乐?”


The different answers give economists plenty to argue about.
各式各样的回答给予经济学家足够的论证依据。


No doubt this emerging science is improving the understanding of what happiness is. But the authors of the World Happiness Report want to go further than just providing information.
毫无疑问,这门新兴科学正在改进人们对于幸福的理解。而《全球幸福指数报告》的起草者们想要做的不只是提供信息那么简单。


They argue that happiness can be measured objectively; that it differs systematically across societies and over time; that happiness has predictable causes and is correlated to specific things (such as wealth, income distribution, health and political institutions); and that therefore it should be possible for government to create the right conditions for happiness to flourish.
他们指出:幸福感是可以进行客观衡量的;不同的社会与时代,幸福的定义也会存在系统性差异;幸福具有可预见原因,与许多具体事物密切相关,如财富,收入分配,健康以及政治制度;因此政府应该可以做到创建适当的条件以提升国民幸福感。


The authors want governments to use happiness as a guide to public policy, rather as they use GNP now.
《全球幸福指数报告》的起草者们希望各国政府制定公共政策时,能以幸福感为指导依据,而不是他们现在所使用的国民生产总值。


However, different individuals have different definitions of happiness. Would it really be such a good idea for a government to decide it knows better what constitutes people’s happiness and how they can best pursue it?
然而,不同个体对于幸福的定义也各不相同。因此,把更好的了解幸福感构成以及追求幸福的最佳方式交给政府去定夺,这真的是一个好主意吗?

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