OUR CHANGING WORLD
Our changing world (Pressures) are the events and drivers of change in our world that have the potential to affect our wellbeing.
The elements of 'Our changing world' are:
- life events
- society and culture
FOCUS ON OUR CHANGING WORLD
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER IN RELATION TO 'OUR CHANGING WORLD'
THE ELEMENTS OF 'OUR CHANGING WORLD'
- What are the key pressures impacting on the current state of wellbeing and current trends?
- What are the key drivers of these pressures?
- What are the linkages, synergies and interrelationships between these pressures?
Each element of 'Our changing world' can be viewed from a number of perspectives. To illustrate this, a few examples of concepts related to each element are provided - from both an individual and a societal perspective. Examples of related measurement areas are also provided.
These examples are intended to prompt thinking about the elements and provide a link between the abstract concepts and the measurement of such concepts. They are not a proposal of 'wellbeing indicators'. When developing a set of indicators each underlying concept should be considered critically, debated, and refined in relation to the particular context and circumstances.
My wellbeing can be affected by the timing, occurrence and my readiness for life events:
- starting school
- starting work
- the formation and dissolution of relationships
- starting a family
My ability to transition between life stages can be critical. Further discussion on transitions is available in the Transitions over the life course
At a societal level, life events are seen in demographic changes and how these changes place pressures on society and the economy. These relate to the provision of infrastructure and services to meet our changing needs. Examples of demographic changes are:
- population ageing
- fertility rates
- mortality rates
- patterns of international migration and settlement
- interstate and intrastate migration patterns
- regional population changes.
Areas we can measure to inform about life events include:
Society and culture
- demographic information (age, sex, country of birth, marital status)
- family compositions
- population size, structure, growth and density
- migration patterns
- death rates and life tables
- health status, and history
- school enrolments
- educational attainment
- employment status, and history
- retirement planning/experiences.
My wellbeing and my choices can be affected by the society I live in. This may be via the impacts of prevailing social and cultural norms (attitudes, beliefs, knowledge and perceptions). These include:
- accepted social, cultural and family roles and responsibilities
- social acceptance of lifestyle choices
- pressures to conform, social response to nonconformist behaviours
- positive and negative peer pressure
- acceptance or non-acceptance of discriminatory behaviours
- opportunities and barriers to participating in social and cultural activities
- the ability of people to have a say on decisions that affect them
- perceptions of personal safety
- personal expectations
- expectations of work-life balance
- ways to learn and share knowledge, develop behaviour and beliefs.
Changing social and cultural norms place pressure on societal systems to change in order reflect these norms. Social instability creates pressure on the functioning of society and the economy. Some social changes may require a generational shift. These include:
- openness of social and cultural activities
- social acceptance relating to race, culture, sexual orientation or mental illness
- encourage participation
- social inclusion
- social issues
- social cohesion.
Areas we can measure to inform about society and culture include:
- religious affiliation
- country of birth, ancestry, language spoken at home
- family composition
- changes in social trends over time - education, health, crime, family, housing.
My wellbeing can be affected by changes to:
- the political environment
- policies and programs
- my rights and freedoms
- my access to the legal system
- the way I am able to interact with institutions
- my ability to have a say on decisions that affect me.
Governance structures and processes may come under pressure to resolve collective problems, meet rising and diverse expectations, and maintain social cohesion. Changes to governance processes and structures may create pressures on society, the economy, technological adoption, etc. These include:
- voice and accountability
- political stability and absence of violence
- government effectiveness
- regulatory quality
- rule of law
- control of corruption. (The World Bank Group, 2014)
Areas we can measure to inform about governance include:
- trust in general and trust in governance processes and systems (e.g. trust in government, public service, doctors, police, justice system, financial system)
- ability to participate in informed public debate and to express views on important issues (e.g. freedom of expression, freedom of association, free media)
- opportunity to participate in decision making and governance processes (voter turnout)
- participation in civic and political groups
- access to justice
- rights and freedoms
- stability of government and economy.
My wellbeing can be affected by changes to the environment. These include:
- the impacts of natural disasters and extreme climate events
- changes to air and water quality
- changes in ecosystems and biodiversity
- green space.
Environmental pressures and the associated costs impact on societal wellbeing. These include:
- natural disasters
- ecosystem decline with habitat and species loss
- growing resource needs placing pressure on water and energy supply, waste management, food and extraction systems
- new resource markets
- resource based innovation
- shifting consumer and societal demands for sustainable and ethical products.
Areas we can measure to inform about the environment include:
- environmental quality indicators over time
- extreme events and impacts
- mitigation and adaptation indicators
- changes to cultural and economic appreciation/value of the environment.
My wellbeing can be affected by changes to infrastructure, impacting on how I live my life and my connections to others. These include:
- changes to transport systems
- changes to traffic congestion
- telecommunications and network technology development
- affordable and efficient energy, water and waste management systems
- changes in urban planning
- access to utilities and services.
Changes to infrastructure can affect how society functions. These range from the impact on retail sales, to changes on plant and equipment impacting on our productivity, which in turn underpins growth in material living standards.
Infrastructure planning investment will allow our society and our economy to function well while being environmentally sustainable. Infrastructure pressures include:
- maintenance of ageing infrastructure
- infrastructure sustainability practices
- ability of current and planned infrastructure to meet demands of growing cities
- environmental impacts of infrastructure
- traffic congestion
- need for large capital outlays
- changes in industry production methods
- infrastructure required to support new technology.
Areas we can measure to inform about infrastructure include:
- gross fixed capital formation (residential and non-residential buildings, roads, bridges, airports, railways, machinery, transport equipment, vineyards and orchard, livestock (for breeding, dairy, draft animals, sheep for wool)
- capital depreciation
- commuting times
- traffic congestion indicators
- changes in public transport and cycle path use
- changes to pedestrian access
- changes to air and water quality
- changes to electricity, gas and water provision
- changes to waste management.
My wellbeing can be affected by technological changes and the continued relevance of my skills.
These include my ability to:
- understand, manage and operate technology
- use technology appropriately applying social and ethical protocols and practices
- create with technology
- communicate using technology
- investigate with technology. (ACARA)
The risks of the misuse and technological failure change as my use of technology changes.
Technological change can improve or reduce the capability to access and share knowledge and ideas, improve health and revolutionise industry. Technology also creates pressures around the capacity to combine a range of skill sets that will enhance productivity. Some skill sets will become irrelevant while misuse and failure of technology could significantly impact on the functioning of our society and the economy. These include:
- risks and benefits of emerging technologies
- accelerated speed and complexity of technological development
- ability to introduce appropriate safeguards, regulations and governance that can be enforced. (World Economic Forum, 2015)
Areas we can measure to inform about technology include:
- use of new technology
- information and communication technology (ICT) industry and employment
- information on cyberattacks, data fraud or theft
- incidence of information infrastructure breakdown
- access to internet, efficiency of access, effectiveness of access.
My wellbeing can be affected by changes to the economy. The economy may impact on my:
- employment and hours worked
- level of government transfers
- household expenditure
- ability to get a loan
- financial stress.
Economic pressures can be affected by changes to global drivers of economic growth and the creation of new markets for resources, food, goods, services and knowledge. These can present barriers and opportunities for society:
- economic growth
- the business cycle
- government revenue
- structural changes
- interest rates
- exchange rates.
Areas we can measure to inform about the economy include:
- macroeconomic indicators
- information on price volatility
- consumer confidence
- household economic resources
- financial stress.
The World Bank Group, 2014, The Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI)
, accessed: 4 June 2015
This list draws on the organising elements described in ACARA Australian Curriculum: Information and Communication Technology (ICT) capability
, accessed 29/05/2015
World Economic Forum, 2015, The Global Risk report: Part 2: Risks in focus - 2.4 Engineering the future: How can the risks and rewards of emerging technologies be balanced
, accessed 18/06/2015