Testing an alternative measure of progress : the case of the Bakgatla-ba- Kgafela Nation

Hamilton, Gillian Kay (2012-03)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: An alternative measure of progress to GDP was evaluated in the Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela tribe (in total N = 119) using subjective wellbeing or happiness. The major dimensions of happiness were assumed to be physical, mental, social, spiritual, educational, environmental, occupational, and financial wellbeing or income and governance. Amongst the Bakgatla, correlation testing identified two clusters or core sub-sets of relationships, based on the strength of relationships, which appear to work in parallel to one another, with divergent outcomes of either increased happiness or income. The first cluster is related to traditional economic rationality and consists of Education Level, Income and Employment Security. The second cluster, more closely related to principles of sustainable development, consists of Social Wellbeing, Environmental Wellbeing and Happiness. An insignificant correlation between Income and Happiness exists. A multiple regression analysis was conducted with Happiness as the dependent variable and the major wellbeing dimensions as the independent variables (R² = .286). Statistically significant Standardized Beta’s calculated in the regression analysis are Social wellbeing (0.464), Educational level (-0.226), Governance (0.205) and Physical wellbeing (0.194). Although a cause-and-effect relationship can’t be assumed, the supposition is that ceteris paribus: • Happy people tend to have higher levels of social wellbeing or social capital; • The more educated people are, the less happy they are; • The more trust people have in public institutions and the state, the happier they are; and • Happy people tend to be healthier. Therefore, holding all other explanatory variables constant, it can be assumed that income has no bearing on subjective wellbeing. Therefore we reject the Null Hypothesis that the Bakgatla’s progress is purely determined by their annual per capita income. The relationship between income and subjective wellbeing for the Bakgatla follows global patterns - an initial increase in happiness as income increases is pronounced but ‘flattens’ somewhat as a higher level of income is reached and diminishes as very high levels of income are achieved. The critical turning point where income has a diminishing rate of return on satisfaction is around R20 000 per annum per person. This corroborates the human needs theories which proposes that a hierarchy of needs for human beings exist and until the basic needs are met, higher needs cannot be met. The present findings have implications for the Bakgatla: in order to increase happiness and promote development, the Bakgatla should focus on four key aspects: meeting basic needs; increasing social capital; increasing trust in the Tribal Authorities; and improving physical health. In addition, education and environmental wellbeing should also be focal points but changes need to be made to the education curriculum so that there is a strong focus on sustainable development. An important policy implication that the Bakgatla need to consider, is balancing the needs of the current generation with the needs of future generations. Economic growth or income may bring a certain amount of happiness; environmental destruction, crime and human health implications may outweigh these benefits and happiness in both the current and future generations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie studie is subjektiewe welstand of geluk as alternatief vir bruto binnelandse produk (BBP) as vooruitgangsmaatstaf by die Bakgatla-Ba-Kgafela-stam (altesaam N = 119) ondersoek. Die veronderstelde hoofaspekte van geluk wat in die studie getoets is, is fisiese welstand, geesteswelstand, maatskaplike welstand, spirituele welstand, opvoedkundige welstand, omgewingswelstand, beroepswelstand, finansiële welstand of inkomste, en bestuur. Korrelasietoetse onder die Bakgatla het twee beduidende groepe of kernsubstelle verwantskappe uitgewys, welke groepe oënskynlik gelyklopend funksioneer, met uiteenlopende dog nieverwante uitkomste van hetsy verhoogde geluk of verhoogde inkomste. Die eerste groep hou verband met tradisionele ekonomiese rasionaliteit, en bestaan uit onderrigvlak, inkomste en werksekerheid. Die tweede groep, wat eerder met beginsels van volhoubare ontwikkeling saamhang, bestaan uit maatskaplike welstand, omgewingswelstand en geluk. Die studie toon onbeduidende verband tussen inkomste en geluk. Meervoudige regressieontleding is met geluk as afhanklike veranderlike en die hoofwelstandsaspekte as onafhanklike veranderlikes uitgevoer (R² = 0,286). Statisties beduidende gestandaardiseerde betakoëffisiënte wat in die regressieontleding bereken is, is maatskaplike welstand (0,464), opvoedingsvlak (-0,226), bestuur (0,205) en fisiese welstand (0,194). Hoewel oorsaak-en-gevolg-verwantskap nie aanvaar kan word nie, word daar vermoed dat, met alle ander faktore gelyk: • gelukkige mense geneig is om hoër vlakke van maatskaplike welstand of maatskaplike kapitaal te geniet; • hoe meer opgevoed mense is, hoe ongelukkiger is hulle; • hoe meer vertroue mense in openbare instellings en die staat het, hoe gelukkiger is hulle; en • gelukkige mense geneig is om gesonder te wees. Indien alle ander verklarende veranderlikes konstant gehou word, word daar dus aanvaar dat inkomste geen verband met subjektiewe welstand toon nie. Daarom word die nulhipotese dat die Bakgatla se vooruitgang alleenlik deur hul jaarlikse inkomste per capita bepaal word, verwerp. Die verwantskap tussen inkomste en subjektiewe welstand vir die Bakgatla volg internasionale patrone: Aanvanklik neem geluk duidelik toe namate inkomste verhoog, plat dan effens af namate hoër inkomstevlak bereik word, en verminder aansienlik wanneer baie hoë inkomstevlakke bereik word. Die kritiese draaipunt waar inkomste verlaagde opbrengskoers op tevredenheid toon, is sowat R20 000 per jaar per persoon. Dít staaf die menslikebehoefte-teorie wat aan die hand doen dat mense oor hiërargie van behoeftes beskik en dat daar eers in basiese behoeftes voorsien moet word voordat behoeftes hoër op in die hiërargie aan die beurt kan kom. Hierdie bevindinge het bepaalde implikasies vir die Bakgatla: Ten einde geluk te verhoog en ontwikkeling aan te moedig, behoort die Bakgatla op vier kernaspekte te konsentreer, naamlik voorsiening in basiese behoeftes, die vermeerdering van maatskaplike kapitaal, die verhoging van vertroue in die stamowerhede, en verbetering van liggaamlike gesondheid. Voorts behoort opvoedkundige en omgewingswelstand ook fokuspunte te wees, maar moet die onderrigkurrikulum aangepas word om sterker klem op volhoubare ontwikkeling te plaas. Belangrike beleidsimplikasie wat die Bakgatla moet oorweeg, is om ewewig te vind tussen die behoeftes van die huidige geslag en die behoeftes van toekomstige geslagte. Ekonomiese groei of inkomste kan inderdaad sekere hoeveelheid geluk skep. Tog kan omgewingsvernietiging, misdaad en swak menslike gesondheid hierdie voordele en geluk in sowel die huidige as toekomstige geslagte oorskadu. Bykomende navorsing word vir die toekoms aanbeveel.

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