Well-being in Politics and Policy

  • Annie AustinEmail author
Part of the Wellbeing in Politics and Policy book series (WPP)


What is the ultimate goal of Politics and Policy? This introductory chapter suggests that the best answer to this question is “Well-being”: The ultimate goal of politics and policy should be to ensure that citizens are able to live good, flourishing lives. In the twentieth century, politics and policy erroneously inverted its means and ends: Instead of making human well-being its ultimate goal, it focused on economic prosperity, measured by GDP. Resulting policies often treated citizens as mere means to the end of a sound economy. However, in the early twenty-first century, GDP “fetishism” was identified as the fundamental mistake it is, and Politics and Policy were called upon to go “Beyond GDP”, and focus directly on human well-being. But what is human well-being? Surely everyone has their own conception of the good? This chapter argues that, given our common biology and common sociality, it would be surprising if there were no universals of human well-being. This study will employ a suite of methods, including documentary analysis of national constitutions, analysis of political “Beyond GDP” programmes, and analysis of the World Values Survey, to identify a universal core of human well-being, as a foundation for people-centred politics and policy.


Well-being Flourishing Beyond GDP Sociality Values 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ManchesterManchesterUK

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