I spent the day last Monday at the United Nations by invitation of the Bhutanese government (along with about 600 other guests). The event was called “High Level Meeting on Well-being and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm.” I thought, “It must not be very high-level if I am invited.” Nonetheless, there I was among 600 activists, economists, NGO workers, bankers, et al from around the world, listening to speeches by prime ministers and Nobel laureates. Except for the monks, I was the only man not wearing a necktie. But that wasn’t what disturbed me about the meeting.
Let me give you a bit of background. In 1972, the King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, remarked that, instead of gross national product (GNP), the nation should strive for “gross national happiness” (GNH). I believe he meant merely to point out that GNP (or GDP, as is more commonly used today) is a poor indicator of a nation’s well-being. The concept of gross national happiness had traction, though, and it wasn’t long before psychologists and economists were trying to come up with metrics to put a number on the concept. Adding impetus to this effort was a growing awareness among social critics that GDP is a very poor indicator of a people’s well-being. In the United States, real per-capita GDP has risen three-fold since the 1950s, but people are not three times happier by any measure. If anything, they are less happy.
This spring, why not beautify and simplify your inbox, the electronic manifestation of your whole life?
News you can use!
Letterer, illustrator, crazy cat lady, secret web designer. That’s how design it-girl Jessica Hische described herself at FontShop’s TYPO International Design conference at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco on Friday, April 6. We saw evidence of each aspect of her self-description during the talk — except the crazy cat lady part, which we’ll have to take her word for.
Barely five years out of college, Jessica has become well-known for her wildly popular “procrastiworking” projects such as the Daily Drop Cap, the Should I Work for Free? flowchart, 52 x 52 and Don’t Fear the Internet. Her philosophy is that we should pay attention to the things we do when procrastinating: those are the things we should probably be doing for a living because we actually enjoy them the most.
Art by Dan Hipp.
COICA, SOPA, PIPA, ACTA…the acronyms may change, but the threat to Internet freedom remains. The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) may have been shelved indefinitely weeks ago in response to the mass online blackout and day of action on January 18th that included Google, Reddit, Wikipedia, Wired, and thousands of other web sites and services. But SOPA and PIPA were only two recent examples of an ongoing campaign by the media industry and lawmakers to limit online civil liberties and undermine the Internet’s architecture in the name of curbing piracy. And as the specter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) looms over the European Union, it’s clear the battle is far from over.
If you’ve had a hard time keeping up with all the SOPA/PIPA/ACTA news, or know folks who don’t get why it matters, please check out and share this article I’ve been working on for the past month for Shareable, about why SOPA and ACTA are only two recent examples in the ongoing campaign to limit online freedom, and what we can do to fight future threats.
It’s a long one, but it’s also available as a free eBook download to read over the weekend! Download links on the site.
The Occupy Austin Guerrilla Garderners got together this morning and reclaimed some land for the people. We brought the logs from a field near my house, but were able to find the footstones (and the water) in the creek right behind this space.
We ripped up the weeds with shovels, laid compost, and planted many seeds. Assuming this garden is not destroyed by the city, soon there will be broccoli, lettuce, cabbage, and radishes growing here.
Reclaim the commons. Reclaim food. Reclaim your body. Reclaim your birthright to enter into a relationship with your landbase. Decolonize Everywhere.
Well that’s awesome.