Throughout this paper, I move towards the endpoint of exploring how the measurement of societal functioning through a multidimensional conceptualization of well-being can reorient development policy and make its implementation more effective. Centering national policy on the goals of multidimensional well-being should lead to more sustainability, reduced ecological footprints, moderate economic development, and additional, mutually reinforcing outcomes.
In Section 1, I discuss subjective well-being, which is one key dimension of overall well-being, a necessary but not sufficient indicator to track in a well-being economy. Section 2 is a review of sociology of mental health literature on well-being, focused on the social stress process. Section 3 covers the most popular global health and well-being surveys of today and critiques the most common subjective well-being measures in particular. In Section 4, I describe what a multidimensional well-being economy paradigm might look like, based on some real-world examples, and limited by some principles that tend to explain why the leaders of the world, historically, do not make the best choices, defined as those which would prioritize the well-being of their people. But I ultimately believe a paradigm shift in development is possible, and already beginning, and that it is essential. The reality is that what is required for human flourishing is inherently sustainable and ecological. It is also affordable, and some experts do believe it is possible. We can do this. Will we?