Man is happy and healthy if he has the opportunity to live a full life; this is in stark contrast to a conception of man’s life based on the struggle for survival. The very concept of survival presupposes competition between beings with the consequent exclusion of the weakest, evokes the death of other beings and promotes existential solitude.
Human well-being, the expression of a full and happy life, is not confined to material well-being; it is not sufficient to make the person feel good, nor can it alone generate social wellbeing, despite the emphasis placed in our culture on measuring GDP as an index of growth in the well-being of a country. It is necessary to underline that the increase in the material well-being of a country does not imply the fair distribution of wealth among people. More and more studies show that, regardless of the measure of the average national income level per person, the higher the inequality perceived by the citizens of a State, the higher and more widespread is the social, psychological and physical suffering in the community. It is therefore the rules of the economic, social and political game that need to be changed in order to improve the well-being of people: the assumptions on which the concept of the well-being of the person, of social, political and economic organisations and systems is based need to be radically revised.
Well-being must be seen in relation to all three dimensions of human development, which must be harmoniously integrated in order to achieve a full ‘flowering’ of man. All three aspects of human well-being are essential and must therefore be satisfied not in a temporal sequence or by self-generation, but at the same time. It is a systemic, multiplicative and non-additive relationship; none of the three aspects can be missing or replaced by an oversizing of the other, otherwise human well-being will not be achieved. These three aspects of human well-being are echoed by three types of goods: material goods or services, on which the GDP is defined; socio-relational goods, which include the intangible relationship between people as a value; and spiritual goods, which satisfy the need for equity, beauty, environmental and social sustainability.