Icelanders have consistently ranked in the top 5 of the world’s happiest people, even after being on the verge of economic collapse during the 2008 financial crisis and having 6 months of darkness. Iceland tops other world surveys of well-being, including the Global Peace Index and the Better Life Index, as well as on measures of income equality, gender equality, health, education, environmental quality, generosity, freedom, and absence of corruption. In 2019, Iceland’s female Prime Minister enacted a framework to foster sustainable development goals, driven by 39 well-being indicators. This system—and the impact of prioritizing and measuring human and environmental well-being—is forward-looking and sits in contrast to countries who rely strictly on GDP indicators (like the United States) to measure growth and success. Analyzing Icelanders’ ways of living and governance can provide insights into socio-economic factors that influence well-being at the individual and society level.
Together, we will virtually explore the beautiful country of Iceland and its people. We will compare and evaluate the governmental frameworks used to measure “development” and “success” in the US and in Iceland to explore their positive and negative impacts on humans and the environment. We will then identify specific socio-economic factors, policies, social programs, and human actions that influence the well-being, health, and life satisfaction of individuals, communities, and the environment. A large portion of the class will also be spent learning about psychological factors associated with well-being and life satisfaction and practicing a variety of cognitive, behavioral, and physical strategies proven to increase human flourishing.
A personal laptop is required.
Catalog Information: HON-H 237 LAW AND SOCIETY