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Well‐being for all as a human development objective: Developing the concept and its criteria with citizens

Gilda Farrell (Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France)

Society and Business Review

ISSN: 1746-5680

Article publication date: 20 June 2008




While defining the well‐being for all as the objective of human development, this paper aims to draw attention to the deficiencies resulting from the “simplification” inherent in its implementation, especially by institutions, and to the advantages to be derived from determining the concept's policy implications and the ensuing priorities and strategies via a bottom‐up‐ or grassroots‐approach.


The paper uses criteria from grassroots approaches to define well‐being for all.


The approach to well‐being for all could help moving towards a new “political culture” rather than a new measurement.

Practical implications

The analysis identifies the links between “components” of well‐being so that action does not continue to be blind, that is to say disregards the fact that, in a complex, changing world, it is necessary to identify the key areas and aspects that offer potential for a renewed organisation of responsibilities, in other words to achieve a new social compromise on the exercise of responsibility.


Apart from fine‐tuning the definitions what interests us is how to transform a concept into a shared political priority for all concerned in a given context. The paper clarifies this, since a gulf can emerge between a concept's origins (strongly rooted in theories concerning human potential to reason in terms of the common good) and the methods of designating the powers capable of implementing it (for instance the choice may be narrowed down to government agencies and market players alone, disregarding citizens or civil society organisations and the need to engage in new forms of co‐responsibility).



Farrell, G. (2008), "Well‐being for all as a human development objective: Developing the concept and its criteria with citizens", Society and Business Review, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 119-132.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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