Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The United Nations’ Cult of Happiness and the New World Economy

Julie Beal
Activist Post

Extra! Extra! Read all about it! A simple cure for political activism has been found! Forget your worries, because all you have to do is …. BE HAPPY!!! The science of happiness has shown that only 10% of how we feel is related to our circumstances; 50% is genetic; and the rest is up to us!
Being a Happiness Activist involves choosing to live in a way that promotes happiness ….. being a force for good rather than a voice of cynicism, criticism, or selfishness. (Source


Don’t laugh . . . but the United Nations, and all the other Big Boys, want to know how ‘well’ we are. Economists, ecologists, and evangelical psychologists have proclaimed we must “measure what matters” and “go beyond GDP” – making our level of wellness matter a great deal. Claiming they want to make us feel better, the globalists have already begun conducting massive surveys in order to measure our well-being. This is part of a well-established plan to measure, alongside the traditional material assets, all the natural capital in the world; human, social, and environmental assets are to feature as part of a new system of national account keeping, which will either complement, or replace, the traditional measures of GDP.

This will change our economy radically, as part of the economic phase transition we are currently living through, such as new currencies being formed based on ‘social credits’. Measuring well-being will extend this trend, and create a global cult of mindless happiness, opening the door for governments to make ‘interventions’, as each person’s well-being becomes the concern of all. This is Big Pharma’s wet dream.

Governments around the world have agreed to start measuring and recording the (pre-defined) ‘well-being’ of their citizens, and incorporate these into their national accounts. It is said that the usual measures of GDP are not enough: we need to gauge the progress of a country by incorporating statistical analyses of the level of ‘happiness’ each population has achieved. This is effectively an Emotional Census – and is thought likely to be conducted using cell phones, which are already equipped with a suite of sensors.


That we all want to be happy goes without saying – but the happiness movement, for all its positivity, is a highly contentious political issue. There needs to be widespread discussion about this, because ‘measuring what matters’ means pricing what matters, and it is linked to the far-reaching aim of Agenda 21. Besides, the Happiness Angels are already fluttering in the wings, ready to help you be just like them.

The first United Nations ‘International Day of Happiness’ was held in March, and a rash of apps, and happiness ambassadors, have emerged to help further the agenda, as if it were a new idea to be happy! The health and happiness of every nation is to be assessed, to help create the New World Economy. This requires regular standardised surveys about personal well-being, which involve very probing questions about your innermost feelings - things that no-one has a right to ask, never mind add to a database which is then used to judge and ‘help’ you.

To be considered effective, the survey questions need to be regular, frequent, and standardised, and to include a wide variety of personal data. The answers received will be used to inform public policy and intervention mechanisms, from the societal level to the individual, such as detecting depression and finding ‘solutions’.

The quickest and most efficient way to gather data for these global surveys of well-being is via mobile phones, and the more data that’s gathered the more ‘reliable’ the metrics will be deemed to be. Smart phones are already equipped with numerous sensors (including, accelerometer, digital compass, gyroscope, GPS, microphone, camera, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor), which are capable of deducing a whole bunch of stuff about your feelings, health, and movements.

In what makes for very illuminating reading, the 2010 ‘Survey of Mobile Phone Sensing’, by Lane, et al, states,
The camera and microphone are powerful sensors. These are probably the most ubiquitous sensors on the planet. By continuously collecting audio from the phone’s microphone, for example, it is possible to classify a diverse set of distinctive sounds associated with a particular context or activity in a person’s life, such as using an automatic teller machine (ATM), being in a particular coffee shop, having a conversation, listening to music, making coffee, and driving. The camera on the phone can be used for many things including traditional tasks such as photo blogging to more specialized sensing activities such as tracking the user’s eye movement across the phone’s display as a means to activate applications using the camera mounted on the front of the phone. The combination of accelerometer data and a stream of location estimates from the GPS can recognize the mode of transportation of a user, such as using a bike or car or taking a bus or the subway.
Ok, you think – so I won’t have a phone . . . Good idea! Only . . . there are other ways to figure out how you’re feeling, such as biometrics, which can be gathered at a distance (covertly), and your online data trail and identity profile. Games are also now capable of detecting many physiological, and even neural, signatures.

The Emotiv device can detect your emotions (for instance, by your facial expressions), as well as cognitive intent, then interpret these for a variety of hands-free applications, including games. A game for children to play has also been designed – the game is played purely by the power of thought: there are no wires, and no bodily movement is required. It is suggested that games are a powerful tool for learning because the brain secretes neurotransmitters when it receives a reward, and this helps “consolidate the changes to [the child’s] brain map.”



The emotive brain interface is also highly valuable to marketers because it can track eye movements whilst performing emotional response analyses via EEG to show what works best in an advert, movie, etc.

Worst of all, though, is the ‘biostamp’ currently being promoted by a company called MC10; like a Band-Aid, the biostamp is a small stick-on patch of stretchable, wearable microelectronics, which can be used to track the location of the person wearing it, and monitor their vital signs. According to cincinatti.com,
When it hits the market in 2014, it will be able to collect data from your heart, brain and muscles. It can sense physical impact, body temperature - even hydration levels. And...it will communicate in real time to your smartphone. 
According to research and analytics firm IHS, demand for wearable, wireless devices will grow from 14 million gadgets this year to nearly 200 million in 2016.
The European Union is also promoting the idea that we should all wear these devices, which they call ‘Guardian Angels’, as part of the FuturICT project. We have entered the age of ‘tele-health’, or ‘m-health’, where diagnosis, and even treatment, are conducted from afar, and the emphasis is on prevention rather than cure. This entails constant monitoring of people who are healthy, and even just the pressure from employers and health insurers could be enough to force people to have to wear these things. Add to this the fact that surveys of subjective qualities such as emotion are notoriously unreliable, (e.g. people can lie, or over/under-estimate their answers, question format and sequence bias, etc.) and you have the perfect argument for needing people to wear a biostamp, to make sure the answers they give to the survey questions match up with what the sensors say.

After what’s happened with carbon – credits are traded for profit, so carbon has become a commodity, or currency – the same seems likely for "social value" and "well being". Once they are part of the national accounts for your country, or biome, each individual would become personally responsible to the rest of society to be as well as they can. Not, of course, GM free, organic, real food, and NOT a society which allows people privacy and the freedom to make their own choices. The corporatocracy’s view of ‘wellness’ is something quite other, as it is based purely on maximising both the productivity of ‘the workforce’ and perpetual consumption. We are, in fact, very useful eaters. We make the world go round - and once our value can be bought and sold, we will constitute an endlessly ‘replenishable’ stock of capital assets. Although there are, of course, “limits to growth”:
"Human capital has increased in every country and is the prime capital form that offsets the decline in natural capital in most economies”, according to the ‘New Balance Sheet for Nations: UNU-IHDP and UNEP Launch Sustainability Index that Looks Beyond GDP’, which indicates the need to, “slow down population growth.” (Source)
The word on the street in the alternative media is that Agenda 21 is all about sustainable development and carbon footprints, and thus tight control of land use and consumption behaviour. It’s a means for those who intend to carry on living like kings to lord over the lives of the serfs, who must forever bow in shame for their very existence. This, however, is but one strand of three. All along, Agenda 21 has been designed to balance the 3 ‘E’s: equity, environment, and economy[1]. As Niki Raapana, and her daughter Nordica, have shown, equity refers to the communitarian principle of global collectivism and consensus for the common good, but, unbeknownst to most, the ideological shift towards communitarianism is also being manifested by promoting and rewarding personal well-being, and social good.

Doing social good is a movement borne of Agenda 21, and perfected by the Fortune 500, through carefully scripted and executed corporate responsibility programs. In many countries, it is now mandatory that companies abide by the principles of sustainability (the environment) and have regard for all stakeholders (equity). Now these companies are passing the responsibilities on to employees, whilst the United Nations and other Global Guvnors are developing schemes which will lay the blame on each and every individual, to collect revenue for retrofitting the developing world.

They’ve done the West; now they want to do the rest, and the heat is on for land grabs for biomass and genetically modified food production in the developing world. They just need us to finance it. They call this ‘wealth redistribution’, only . . .  it doesn’t include the Guvnors.

As social credits evolve, the points that are earned will become tradeable, and therefore commodified, just like carbon, and will function as virtual currencies. In the same vein, health and happiness are already being rewarded as incentivised games, and, once they become important enough, could also come to function like the social currencies. Game-ified measurements of individual carbon footprints are also becoming more common, and called for by the very same New Economists promoting happiness. This, then, is the final phase of Agenda 21, as it incorporates all 3 ‘E’s of equity, environment, and economy.

Happiness metrics give an incredibly detailed profile of an individual, especially when combined with other online and sensor data. Profiles are aggregated using the tools of complexity, and network science, to facilitate prediction of behaviours. The ability to predict decisions and possible events is a prize being sought by high frequency traders, law enforcers, and many others, and is paramount to control of the economy and society at large. The smart grid, the economy, social networks, and individuals, are all examples of ‘complex adaptive systems’, forming a web of networks which make up the system of systems – the Global Ecosystem. Big Data and A.I. have revealed that networks such as these have common properties, which allow predictions to be made about how the networks will operate over a given timeframe. Each network is made up of individual nodes, or agents, which are connected dynamically. The attributes of these nodes are already being modelled by the military, governments, and corporations, according to the science of complex adaptive systems, and understood by algorithms, which evolve along with real-time data inputs. Hence, happiness data would be invaluable to the Global Guvnors, as it makes for a very fine prediction mechanism indeed.

The more real-time data, the better. Hungry genetic algorithms will crunch your numbers and sum up your value to the world. This is global accounting of natural, human and social capital. The sum of environment plus equity equals the economy. People + Planet = Profit.

A cult of mindless happiness which disposes of philosophical and political concerns almost completely.

You’re supposed to be happy whatever the weather. It’s a heavy expectation, a huge responsibility - your com(munity)patriots would be depending on you to do your best to ensure a flourishing economy, and a functioning world-system. The sensors would know anyway. It’s all one big network.

One of the key proponents of ‘accounting for externalities’ is Club of Rome member, Hazel Henderson. She is fond of pointing out that “170 nations agreed to reform their GDP in Rio’s Earth Summit in the 1992 Agenda 21, Article 40”. (Source)

There was no specific mention of happiness or well being measures at the time, but this has now been resolved with the ratification of ‘Resolution 65/309: Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development’ at Rio+20 last year.

The whole thing amounts to an entirely undemocratic process, as it has been planned for over a decade and is now to be foisted upon us as if it were a naturally evolved movement, grassroots even. But it would change life as we know it completely. It is a movement designed and implemented by the United Nations, the OECD, the European Union, World Bank, the World Economic Forum, DEMOS, Gallup, the Aspen Institute, and the various New Economy organisations, principally Soros’ New Economics Institute and the UK’s New Economics Foundation. It involves Global Book-keeping of the entire global ecosystem, where each and every part of natural, human, and social capital, is PRICED, itemised, and traded. All of this is done with complicated equations and algorithms. I strongly recommend reading the Inclusive Wealth Report, the World Happiness Report, the Sustainable Society Index and this OECD-DAC document.

The general idea is that sustainability is linked to well-being, and the various ‘externalities’ must be included in the Global Account.

The argument for measuring happiness boils down to 1) happiness is important, and 2) therefore we must measure it. They never mention love though.

Happiness is personal, complicated, and all the better when it comes through wisdom and genuine freedom. It is meaningless when it comes from following a scientific happiness program which blinds people to the important issues in life.

Lord Richard Layard, from the London School of Economics (LSE), has worked long and hard on the happiness agenda, and he’s got an answer for some of the questions ‘skeptics’ might ask of him. He defends the agenda by saying ‘everyone’s doing it’, and the usual ‘government can only help people if it knows what they need’ line:
All British political parties now support the idea. See the ONS consultation on Measuring National Wellbeing. So too does the club of rich nations (the OECD) and many individual foreign governments. Such measurements are not new. Happiness has been measured regularly in the United States since the 1950s, and in the European Union's Eurobarometer it began around 1970. What is new is that these measurements are being made on larger samples and given official status. 
That is all to the good because if you measure the wrong thing you do the wrong thing. Governments began measuring the GDP in order to manage unemployment, but they allowed it to become the totem of national success. This simply confirmed the materialistic, consumerist values of the wider society. It is great that this now changing. 
The aim of measurement is to see who is languishing and, having found the causes, to adopt policies to improve things. To find this out people are asked questions about how happy they are, how satisfied with their life and its different dimensions, and so on. These measurements get high response rates. But do they mean anything? The answers are, as intended, totally subjective. But they are well-correlated with all kinds of objective measurements. 
First they are correlated with brain activity in the relevant areas where positive and negative feelings are experienced. Second, they are correlated with behaviour - people who say they are unhappy at work tend to leave their jobs. Third, what people say is correlated well with obvious causes of happiness and misery, like unemployment. And fourth, what a person says about his happiness is echoed by what his friend say about him - if we could not perceive each other's subjective feelings, human society would be impossible.
Pascal Bruckner is a French writer and philosopher, who has written a masterful article called, "Condemned to Joy; The Western cult of happiness is a mirthless enterprise", in which he comments on the global zeitgeist of the duty to be happy; apparently unaware of the elite political force behind the new happiness agenda, his words are perhaps even more prescient:
Sadness is the disease of a society of obligatory well-being that penalizes those who do not attain it. Happiness is no longer a matter of chance or a heavenly gift, an amazing grace that blesses our monotonous days. We now owe it to ourselves to be happy, and we are expected to display our happiness far and wide. 
Thus happiness becomes not only the biggest industry of the age but also a new moral order. We now find ourselves guilty of not being well, a failing for which we must answer to everyone and to our own consciences. 
….. Who would dare admit that he is sometimes miserable and expose himself to social opprobrium? This is the strange contradiction of the happiness doctrine when it becomes militant and takes on the power of ancient taboos—though in the opposite direction. To enjoy was once forbidden; from now on, it’s obligatory. Whatever method is chosen, whether psychic, somatic, chemical, spiritual, or computer-based, we find the same assumption everywhere: beatitude is within your grasp, and you have only to take advantage of “positive conditioning” (in the Dalai Lama’s words) in order to attain it. We have come to believe that the will can readily establish its power over mental states, regulate moods, and make contentment the fruit of a personal decision. (Bruckner’s article was translated by Alexis Cornel.) [Source]
If only Bruckner knew about all the happy clubs and apps that have sprung up. For instance, Bob and Virginia Pothier founded and launched Hapacus last year. Bob was a GE Healthcare executive and Virginia was an Account Director for Standard Register. Their new company, Hapacus, “promotes the science of happiness”, based on the findings of positive psychology and mindfulness. (Source)

Positive psychologists rightly point out that we need to accept what has happened to us, and move on. They say we have a tendency towards a “negativity bias”, focussing more on the bad than we do on the good. Pothier insists, “We have to recognize when our brains have [become] unreasonably focused on negative information so we can manage back towards more healthy patterns.” (Source)

This approach is an altogether different piece of advice when applied to a political activist or protestor. Those concerned about corruption and injustice could be accused of having a negativity bias, and to need help from the Happiness Angels.

To sum up,
  1. The measures of Gross National Happiness will become so important, each of us will have to try our best to be healthy and happy. Our country will fare less well if we are not. We may be offered incentives, like the social currencies, to improve ourselves to the desired standard.
  2. There are a whole lot of sensors on smart phones which can help agencies figure out who, where, and how you are, and there are a lot more on the way. The quantified self movement is busy testing many apps and devices which build up a picture of how well they are, many of which will be used as part of the future ‘e-health’ – monitoring from afar.
  3. The whole system is just about up and running, so the time to take action is NOW!
Please note - Future articles will focus on the various aspects of this movement, including:

  • The history of the ‘beyond GDP’ movement, i.e. the UN, OECD, Gallup, Demos, etc.; the World Happiness Report, the Happy Planet Index, etc.; the New Economists, and the various government initiatives/policies
  • The Bhutan Illusion
  • The 9 domains of gross national happiness (called 'GNH') which includes measuring political beliefs
  • ‘Accounting for externalities’ – Agenda 21 and human and social capital
  • Phone sensing (ie of 'wellness'), apps, MEMS, etc, and the Quantified Self movement
  • The various happiness movements (and who set them up!) and happiness apps, and survey questions
  • The quantified self movement / sensors / neurotechnolgoy
  • The genetic determinants of well-being
  • The redistribution of wealth – e.g. Gates, Sachs, and the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) – financing the development of the poorest nations, ready for capitalist expansion: a global tax?
  • Tracking the global economy – predicting financial and behavioural decisions – how Soros’ beloved notion of reflexivity fits in with the FuturICT project (complexity science), and the ‘social economy’; The New Economics
In the meantime, I’ll put up all the links I have so far on my website www.getmindsmart.com , and hope that others can use them to write about this, to help raise awareness of the issues involved.

Notes:
[1] SSI

Julie Beal is a UK-based independent researcher who has been studying the globalist agenda for more than 20 years. Please visit her website, Get Mind Smart, for a wide range of information about Agenda 21, Communitarianism, Ethics, Bioscience, and much more.


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5 comments:

Anonymous said...

this insane...they really think they can force people to be happy 24-7...if a couple fighhts what will the happy police show up...what they going to send u to a class and if that doesn't work jail u...and if that doesn't work kill u....or drug u...mmm stanferd wives it sounds like to me...if i recall that didn't work in that movey either...forceing people to be happy at all time is impossible...but i guess they don't care how many of us they kill sense they plan on that anyways to get they're world down to there ideal 1.6 billion. for the wole world

nota said...

Yeah...I am so "happy" thinking about all the chewy, crunchy bugs they are recommending!!!!

http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml

Yum!!!!

Michael Moulds said...

It will bring change. But not what they're hoping. I just wanted to be heard before they shut the power off. lol

Globalgent said...

As someone who has been involved in the alternative measurements to GDP, i find this article rather comical for being extremely misinformed about many many of the leading advocates of the GNH movement. I have no idea how often Ms Beal has joined protests and has been tear gas'd at large demonstrations against the multilateral institutions (WTO, IMF, World Bank) during the height of the anti-globalization movement during the years prior to 911, when the wind was blown of the anti-globalists sails. I have been and many of the leaders from those days are now the pioneers to promote GNH. Many are friends of mine and are well known national and international names in the fight against the oligarchic elite.

this is a very misinformed article, as many overreaching conspiratorial essays are that equates actual opponent institutions and agendas as one and same, and is more prone to flights of unrealistic imagination than offering any valuable substance. Associating the genetic determinant pseudo-science with this movement is laughable. By the way, positive psychology is a very flawed theory as anyone who has deeply experienced spiritual disciplines knows very well.

Anonymous said...

Response to 'Globalagent':
I'm sorry but this is very much an elite movement, reliant on good willed people who fall for the notion that 'valuing happiness' means we must measure it.

If you are in a fight against the oligarchic elite, why do you fight for the same thing as them? Why would you want to be surveilled?

The movement consistently uses the rhetoric of positive psychology and mindfulness (principally Daniel Kahneman and Ed Diener (the latter stands to make a tidy fortune from this in Australia). I in no way believe genetics can determine happiness, but that's what most of the 'happiness advocates' are citing, and it's important people know this.

The Occupy movement has been co-opted by those who say we must measure happiness. Perhaps some activists believe they are part of a grassroots movement, as they listen to the same old stories about what's wrong with the current fiat system and how important it is to value the really important things in life and of course that's right - how could anyone be so cold hearted as not to agree? - but that does NOT mean their proposal to measure the stock of human and social capital is fair or decent -- what about the people who have nothing to offer? the weak and the vulnerable?

It's the consequence you need to consider, not the values they espouse.

Should we measure love?

This is in NO WAY a conspiracy ... people like Nic Marks and Hazel Henderson have been working at this for years. Not to mention George Soros.

Are you in their ranks?

Will you stand with your global patriots on the International Day of Happiness and chant together for the souls of the not-yet-happy?

Did you actually fall for all the Bhutan nonsense? Do you know anything the history of that country?

Julie

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