Raw local happiness, a future indicator for regions when the economy catches a cold


Let’s not dream of a return to normal, let’s think differently about our indicators of success. The economy was sealed off for months, continuing for a long time in this epidemic to be under this deceptively protective economic regime. Today, a third confinement would represent a leap into the economic unknown, a cataclysm after the raising of our bell, far from the dreams of a “startup-nation”. If this event is confirmed soon, colossal changes will occur, as often for humans, adaptation will allow us to live better or survive.

During the last summer vacation, we were swimming like many French people without worries in murky water and without seeing the shark arriving full of anger. It was believed that this crisis would be short term, henceforth the repercussions on the economy and sociological changes are registered on the long term. The representation of economic forces will gradually change in the “next world” , affected by a lasting and unprecedented crisis since 1929, the classic liberal model will thus be further questioned and readjusted.

Yesterday, the Stiglitz report (2008) jostled our economic preconceptions and called for genuinely to take into account well-living by establishing it as a new national indicator. What’s new since? Not much, despite the discussions and postures. Nevertheless, certain territories such as the Pays de la Loire region have taken the lead in this area, with work already carried out (since 2009) on more than twenty alternative wealth indicators to better reflect on its attractiveness. Others are free to be inspired by it … Also, the World Happiness Report, published by the UN every year since 2012, establishes a ranking of 156 countries according to their level of happiness.. This indicator has the merit compared to others of not falling into a spiritualist vision of the happiness of populations. In 2019, France was for example 24th behind Mexico, far from countries with a comparable level of GDP.

In this context, alternative indicators to GDP are likely to emerge, less in a national context than in daily proximity. This is where an indicator of “gross local happiness” can be constructed! A trend of returning to the local is palpable among the French. Following the first confinement, one in three French people living in a metropolis wishes to change their place of life, turning in particular to cities on a human scale. The democratization of teleworking created an unprecedented possibility for medium-sized towns and rural areas to put forward their good quality of life. How? ‘Or’ What ? Everyone will be able to present a good image, an ordinary territorial marketing strategy, stereotypical speeches, but the rational choice of the French cannot be made on this.

Tomorrow, the notion of territorial attractiveness will be reinvented and territorial marketing can support this dynamic. This crisis will make obsolete the fact of reducing too much the attractiveness of a city or a region to growth and economic opportunities. An alternative indicator then makes it possible to grasp the richness of a territory in its various nuances, to better understand the needs of citizens in order to carry out local consultations on specific issues. Territorial Marketing will thus be able to gain credibility and finesse in analysis through this type of new practice. Refusing to think about this economic problem of “good measure” and recognition of each territory, exposes our community to the risk of giving in to the temptation of a return to economic nationalism.

Let’s adapt the economic measure to a changing society. Everyone sees it at the corner of their street, in economic uncertainties or health constraints: life adapts. In reaction to the present difficulties, our society will put forward in profusion old values ​​in a complementary way to economic choices, such as “conviviality value” while confinement worsens and “interactive solitudes”. Our modernity will evolve and the economic prism will remain essential through the rise in precariousness, but its focus will open up to other realities. This alternative indicator is still largely to be invented, taking inspiration from a “different elsewhere”.

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