- Written by: Kamran Mofid
- Hits: 4683
"The past two decades in China brought unprecedented rates of economic growth, development, and poverty reduction. Indeed, much of the reduction in the world’s extreme poverty rates during that time can be explained by the millions of people in China who exited poverty. GDP per capita and household consumption increased fourfold between the years 1990 and 2005.1 China jumped 10 places forward on the Human Development Index from 2008 until 2013, moving up to 93 of 187 countries, and life expectancy climbed to 75.3 years, compared to 67 years in 1980.
"Yet during the same period, life satisfaction levels in China demonstrated very different trends—in particular dropping precipitously in the initial stages of rapid growth and then recovering somewhat thereafter. The drops in life satisfaction were accompanied by increases in the suicide rate and in incidence of mental illness. China had one of the highest suicide rates in the world in 1990s: approximately 23.2 suicides per 100,000 people per year from 1995 to 1999 (with the rate gradually falling to 7.8 per 100,000 by 2012). Mental health disorders, on the other hand, increased as suicide rates fell (perhaps because more individuals sought treatment). The annual growth rate of inpatients admitted into mental health hospitals was 13.4 percent from 2007 to 2012 (reaching 1.2 million people). Outpatient visits increased at a similar rate—12.4 percent (reaching a magnitude of 27 million outpatient visits in 2011).
"Is this an anomaly? Is there something unique about China’s life satisfaction and well-being more generally? Or is it China’s growth trajectory? While income metrics provide us with one story of China’s progress, well-being metrics—including measures of mental health—are telling us a very different story. What explains the discrepancy?"... Happiness and health in China: The paradox of progress
China: Marrying Economic Growth and Prosperity with Happiness and Well-Being
There is no doubt that in the last few decades China’s economy and society have changed rapidly and profoundly. The economic transformation of the country has been nothing but most spectacular, to say the least. Massive annual GDP growth rates, huge increases in exports, modernisation of cities and towns, huge improvements in people’s standard of living, incomes and more. But, it seems, similar to the countries in the Western World, Chinese people are not satisfied. Something is missing. What is that? HAPPINESS! Indeed, many Chinese officials, media and commentators have frankly admitted to this.
For example, Zhang Lijuan, a columnist for China.org.cn - the official website of the State Council's Information Office, wrote on 16 March 2011 "30 years' of economic reforms in China have created an economic miracle. The government has promoted economic growth with a GDP target every year. But paradoxically, although people are wealthier, they are not happier. Facing issues of social injustice, high inflation, and a widening gap between the rich and poor, the government has decided to directly target happiness."
The goal of "happiness" for the people was announced by Premier Wen Jiabao in his Government Work Report to the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC) on March 4. It is also written into the national 12th Five-year Plan for Social and Economic Development (2011 - 15) as a signal of change in development strategy. In his report, Premier Wen said the government's work is to "let people live more happily and with more dignity". The Premier has defined happiness as meaning that "happiness means people live comfortably, feel relieved and safe, and have confidence in the future." The Premier also said that Beijing would adopt the "happiness of the people" as a new yardstick to measure the performance of officials, replacing the 30-year-old yardstick of GDP growth.
I am delighted that the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI) has been at the forefront of promoting happiness and well-being studies and research, as well as arguing that economic policies should be based on economics of happiness, so that economic activities become more meaningful, relevant and fulfilling. If economic growth is not hand-in-hand with people’s happiness and well-being, then, this would be a recipe for disaster.
Surely there must be another way possible. Yes, it is, and a value-led education is the key to unlock the door to a better, happier life.
See for example:
Nature the Best Teacher: Re-Connecting the World’s Children with Nature
We will be delighted to share our experience and expertise with our Chinese colleagues and all others who seek to be an instrument of happiness and well-being.
- Written by: Kamran Mofid
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“A nation that destroys its systems of education, degrades its public information, guts its public libraries and turns its airwaves into vehicles for cheap, mindless amusement becomes deaf, dumb and blind. It prizes test scores above critical thinking and literacy. It celebrates rote vocational training and the singular, amoral skill of making money. It churns out stunted human products, lacking the capacity and vocabulary to challenge the assumptions and structures of the corporate state. It funnels them into a caste system of drones and systems managers. It transforms a democratic state into a feudal system of corporate masters and serfs.
Teachers, their unions under attack, are becoming as replaceable as minimum-wage employees at Burger King. We spurn real teachers—those with the capacity to inspire children to think, those who help the young discover their gifts and potential—and replace them with instructors who teach to narrow, standardized tests. These instructors obey. They teach children to obey. And that is the point. The No Child Left Behind program, modeled on the “Texas Miracle,” is a fraud. It worked no better than our deregulated financial system. But when you shut out debate these dead ideas are self-perpetuating....
To truly teach is to instill the values and knowledge which promote the common good and protect a society from the folly of historical amnesia. The utilitarian, corporate ideology embraced by the system of standardized tests and leadership academies has no time for the nuances and moral ambiguities inherent in a liberal arts education. Corporatism is about the cult of the self. It is about personal enrichment and profit as the sole aim of human existence. And those who do not conform are pushed aside.”...
Read this must-read article: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/why_the_united_states_is_destroying_her_education_system_20110410/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Truthdig+Truthdig%3A+Drilling+Beneath+the+Headlines
- Written by: Kamran Mofid
- Hits: 26788
Prof. Kamran Mofid, a retired academic, is an author, activist, blogger, independent scholar and researcher. He is the founder of Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI- founded at an international conference in Oxford in 2002), Co-founder/Editor, GCGI Journal, which is hosted at Wilmington College, Ohio, USA, a Patron of the Human Values Foundation, a founding member of World Dignity University, a member of the Advisory Board of Cortona Friends/Todi Week Forum, a TFF Associate, and a Research Committee member of the Centre For Global nonkilling. Mofid also volunteers at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, Patient Partners’ Forum, and the Trust’s Patient & Public Involvement in Research Steering Group, as well as at his local medical surgery, Sky Blue Medical Group, Patient/GP Participation Group.
Mofid received his BA and MA in economics from the University of Windsor, Canada, in 1980 and 1982 respectively. In 1986 he was awarded his doctorate in economics from the University of Birmingham, UK. In 2001 he received a Certificate in Education in Pastoral Studies at Plater College, Oxford.
Mofid sees that the current and dominant neoliberal economic model does not hold answers to the human condition and that ethical values and motivation have other roots; complementary to create a coherent whole. Mofid firmly believe that we all can make a difference, contribute to change within our own lives, the lives of those around us, and our sacred earth, our home.
Mofid, thus, finally has chosen activism, volunteerism, values-led, spiritual economics and education as his field of service to humanity and the planet, and has always sought coherence between his values and his work.
From 1980 to 2000 Mofid was Economic Tutor, Lecturer and Senior Lecturer at the universities of Windsor (Canada), Birmingham, Bristol, Wolverhampton, and Coventry (UK). In 2010 Mofid was appointed Adjunct Professor to the Dalhousie School of Business Administration, Halifax, Canada.
Mofid's work is highly interdisciplinary, drawing on Economics, Business, Politics, International Relations, Theology, Culture, Ecology, Ethics and Spirituality. Mofid's writings have appeared in leading scholarly journals, popular magazines and newspapers. His books include Development Planning in Iran: From Monarchy to Islamic Republic , The Economic Consequences of the Gulf war, Globalisation for the Common Good, Business Ethics, Corporate Social Responsibility and Globalisation for the Common Good , Promoting the Common Good (with Rev. Dr. Marcus Braybrooke, 2005), and A non-Violent Path to Conflict Resolution and Peace Building (Co-authored, 2008).
Dr. Mofid was the instigator, Co-founder and the Associate Director (1996-1999) of the Centre for the Study of Forgiveness and Reconciliation at CoventryUniversity.
“The Centre was officially inaugurated on 11 March 1996, when its distinguished patron, Mary Robinson, the President of Ireland, delivered the inaugural lecture at Coventry Cathedral.”
Before I say more about myself, let me share with you the philosophy, the vision and values of my educational belief, which in turn has guided me to found the GCGI. Here I am most humbly inspired by Lao Tzu,a mystic philosopher of ancient China, considered the founder of Taoism. He said:
Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
this nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
this loftiness has roots that go deep.
I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the world.
Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI): Where we connect our intellect with our humanity
To understand, appreciate, and face the challenges of the contemporary world requires us to focus on life’s big picture. Whether it is war and peace, economics and the environment, justice and injustice, love and hatred, cooperation and competition, common good and selfishness, science and technology, progress and poverty, profit and loss, food and population, energy and water, disease and health, education and family, we need the big picture in order to understand and solve the many pressing problems, large and small, regional or global.
The “Big Picture” is also the context in which we can most productively explore the big perennial questions of life - purpose and meaning, virtues and values.
In order to focus on life’s bigger picture and guided by the principles of hard work, commitment, volunteerism and service; with a great passion for dialogue of cultures, civilisations, religions, ideas and visions, at an international conference in Oxford in 2002 the Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI) and the GCGI Annual International Conference Series were founded.
We recognise that our socio-economic problems are closely linked to our spiritual problems and vice versa. Moreover, socio-economic justice, peace and harmony will come about only when the essential connection between the spiritual and practical aspects of life is valued. Necessary for this journey is to discover, promote and live for the common good. The principle of the common good reminds us that we are all really responsible for each other – we are our brothers' and sisters' keepers – and must work for social conditions which ensure that every person and every group in society is able to meet their needs and realize their potential. It follows that every group in society must take into account the rights and aspirations of other groups, and the well-being of the whole human family.
One of the greatest challenges of our time is to apply the ideas of the global common good to practical problems and forge common solutions. Translating the contentions of philosophers, spiritual and religious scholars and leaders into agreement between policymakers and nations is the task of statesmen and citizens, a challenge to which Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative (GCGI) adheres. The purpose is not simply talking about the common good, or simply to have a dialogue, but the purpose is to take action, to make the common good and dialogue work for all of us, benefiting us all.
What the GCGI seeks to offer - through its scholarly and research programme, as well as its outreach and dialogue projects - is a vision that positions the quest for economic and social justice, peace and ecological sustainability within the framework of a spiritual consciousness and a practice of open-heartedness, generosity and caring for others. All are thus encouraged by this vision and consciousness to serve the common good.
The GCGI has from the very beginning invited us to move beyond the struggle and confusion of a preoccupied economic and materialistic life to a meaningful and purposeful life of hope and joy, gratitude, compassion, and service for the good of all.
Perhaps our greatest accomplishment has been our ability to bring Globalisation for the Common Good into the common vocabulary and awareness of a greater population along with initiating the necessary discussion as to its meaning and potential in our personal and collective lives.
In short, at Globalisation for the Common Good Initiative we are grateful to be contributing to that vision of a better world, given the goals and objectives that we have been championing since 2002. For that we are most grateful to all our friends and supporters that have made this possible.
The values of the GCGI, which we hold very dearly
We value caring and kindness
We value passion and positive energy
We value service and volunteerism
We value simplicity and humility
We value trust, openness, and transparency
We value values-led education
We value harmony with nature
We value non-violent conflict resolution
We value interfaith, inter-civilisational and inter-generational dialogue
We value teamwork and collaboration
We value challenge and excellence
We value fun and play
We value curiosity and innovation
We value health and wellbeing
We value a sense of adventure
We value people, communities and cultures
We value friendship, cooperation and responsibility
A CV Summary with a focus on Business& Economics (last updated in 2007)
The theme of my lectures, speeches and workshops has covered the following areas/subjects:
- Ethics, Morality and Spirituality in Economics and Business
- Efficiency and Equity, Competition and Cooperation, Market forces and Regulation, Free Trade and Fair Trade: Can they all work together in the interest of the common good?
- Values-Led Economics& Business Education
- Is a Fairer Globalisation Possible? Globalisation for the Common Good and the Pursuit of Justice in the World Economy
- Challenges of Globalisation: A reflection on the Future Agenda for Globalisation
- The Emerging Alliance of World Religions and Spiritual Traditions and their Contributions in the search for a more Honest and Just Global Economic Order
- Globalisation and Islam: Muslim/Sufi Perspectives on Globalisation
- The “Financial Tsunami”: A Reflection on the Workings of the Market, the Pursuit of Profit Maximisation and Cost Minimisation
- How to Succeed in Creating a Sustainable and Profitable Business? Know the Golden Rule and Serve the Common Good
- Globalisation: What Can the West Learn from Africa and African Spirituality?
- Business Education and the Common Good.
- Steps to and Principles for Responsible and Sustainable Business
- The Morality of the Market: Economic Efficiency and Moral Sentiments
- Japan and the Middle East
- US and the Middle East
- Canada and the EU
- Canada and the Middle East
- America and the Globalisation for the Common Good
- Can Business do Well by doing Good? A Dialogue on Spirituality, Economics and Justice
These presentations were hosted at and sponsored by the following institutions, amongst others:
- American Business Council of Dubai and World Trade Club of Dubai, UAE
- Canadian Business Council, Dubai, UAE
- International Energy Forum (IEF), Tokyo, Japan
- The Japanese Institute of Middle Eastern Economies, Tokyo, Japan
- Japan Cooperation Centre for the Middle EastTokyo, Japan
- Institute of Developing Economies, Tokyo, Japan
- LoyolaUniversity, Chicago, Centre for Ethics
- CaliforniaLutheranUniversity,Center for Leadership and ValuesSchool
- DalhousieUniversitySchoolHalifax, Canada
- MegatrendUniversity,Belgrade, Serbia
- Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security, Ottawa, Canada
- Conference Board of Canada, Department of External Affairs and International Trade (Canada)
- Institute for International Economic Studies Tokyo, Japan
- Africa Research and Resource Forum, Nairobi, Kenya
- The Middle East and Globalisation for the Common Good (Sponsored by a selection of Business Councils in Dubai)
Papers presented at conferences, research institutes, think tanks (with focus on the Middle East: trade, development, energy, peace and conflict resolution, inter-faith dialogue, globalisation, dialogue of civilisations, and international relations)
++ Most of these presentations were as invited keynote/plenary speaker.
- SchoolOriental and African Studies (SOAS), UniversityLondon.
- Universities of Exeter, Durham, Leeds, Birmingham, Warwick, Bath, Bradford, East Anglia, Manchester, Glasgow, Sussex, Oxford, York, Kellogg College, Oxford(UK)
- Columbia, Berkeley, George Mason, Michigan, Loyola (Chicago), California Lutheran, Ohio State(USA)
- International Energy Forum (IEF), Japan Institute of Middle Eastern Economies, Japan Cooperation Centre for the Middle East, Kyoto Sangyo University, Hosei University, Sophia University, Middle East Institute of Japan, Institute of Developing Economies(Japan)
- TrinityCollege, UniversityMelbourne, AustralianNationalUniversity, University of Queensland(Australia)
- Canadian Institute for International Peace and Security, Conference Board of Canada, Department of External Affairs and International Trade, Saint Mary’s University, SimonFraserUniversity, Dalhousie(Canada)
- Fatih University (Turkey), Haifa, Hebron, Bethlehem (Universities), Israel Institute of Technology (Technion), Ministry of Industry, Trade and Economy (Jericho)-(Israel and Palestine)
- The United Nations, New York
- American Business Council,Dubai, UAE
- Canadian Business Council, Dubai, UAE
- Convener of international conferences (with focus on the Middle East)
- Iran and the West(UK)
- Iran and the Globalisation for the Common Good (under the Patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum(Dubai, UAE)
- The Third Annual International Conference, Globalisation for the Common Good(Dubai, UAE)
- The Sixth Annual International Conference, Globalisation for the Common Good(Istanbul, Turkey)
Broadcasts and Interviews on Middle Eastern Issues
- BBC World Service
- BBC Coventry and Oxford
- American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
- Voice of America
- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
- Australian Broadcasting Corporation