In developed countries, quality of life (QOL) is increasingly measured as one of the most important statistics in politics. It was developed largely to counter other measures that encouraged both consumerism and productivism by over-focusing on cash, price and exchange:
In the past, GDP (the yardstick of economic sucess) was assumed to be a good approximation of standard of living which was assumed to be a good indicator of quality of life and of its relative, well-being. However its creators never advocated such usage.
A more common assertion in today's welfare economics is that by Amartya Sen that free time is more directly correlated to quality of life than is any cashflow or service provision metric.
Recent studies by the United Nations and by the World Values Survey, also call the links betwen production/consumption and quality of life into serious question:
A 2005 study by the Economist found that in 2005, Ireland had the highest quality of life in the world. Another by the OECD studied whether declining social capital was to blame for stalled quality of life increased in welathy countries over the last few decades.
In the UK, the prime minister's Strategy Unit published a paper recommending policies that might increase the nation's happiness . These include using quality-of-life indicators when making decisions about health and education (go for the option that leads to greatest life satisfaction), and finding an alternative to gross domestic product as a measure of how well the country is doing - one that reflects happiness as well as welfare, education and human rights.
health,mental health, human capital,social capital, wealth,well being.