The essay is a critical examination of challenges of wellbeing in the 21st centaury. Wellbeing has been thought of as a situation where one is happy, healthy or prosperous. Philosophically, well being describes issues that are non-instrumentally or ultimately good for individuals. The whole concept rests on the notion of utilitarianism which calls for maximization of wellbeing. It is an important aspect of our lives both as individual and as a society as a whole. Despite the fact that the concept initially was used to describe health status of individuals, it has come to be appreciated that was just a constituent of what amount to what is good for a person as well as a group of individuals in a society. Wellbeing can be either objective and subjective or hedonic and eudemonic. Objective refers to material and social circumstances that foster or destruct persons from sense of wellbeing. While subjective wellbeing is what individuals assess self own wellbeing. Hedonic wellbeing entails life satisfaction, positive mood as well as absence of negative moods while eudemonic wellbeing are thought to be distinct an all sources of pleasure do not enhance wellbeing (White, 2006).
Although there has been improvement aimed at making the well being of person as well as the society better notably improved economy which has brought with it numerous advantages; studies show that the wellbeing of Briton did not improved despite the fact that the economy tremendously improved from 1970s. This clearly shows that there are certain challenges that hinder attainment of human wellbeing. Broadly speaking, the greatest challenges to wellbeing in the 21st century stem from economical, political, technological as well as environmental base.
Before commencing on discussing the challenges, it will be rational to set limits of who should enjoy the well being or rather the proportion of human population that need to be happy. Based on the philosophy developed by Emmanuel Kant, human should engage in activities that will generate happiness to the greatest number of human beings. In terms of economy it is apparent that governments as well as individuals have strived over the past years in ensuring that the economy is improved. According to Veenhoven, 2002 the driving force of this activity was that it will generate job opportunities hence make individual earn a living and be in a position to comfortably meet the demands of their lives. However, concepts such as free trade, tariffs, corruption in certain regions have made it a challenge to other individuals to access certain job opportunities. Capitalisms linked with private ownership of production have been deemed to be a challenge in fostering human happiness and subsequently wellbeing. Some policies formulated by relevant authorities have worked against wellbeing of the citizens. It is worth noting that having in mind that private ownership of factors of production are in the hands of a few individuals who will strive at nothing short of making profit at the expense of the majority of the human population.
Socially, there are factors that do pose a challenge in attaining human wellbeing. With the current social trend especially in marriage, in which there are higher rates of divorce, family violence, same sex marriage among others has worked against improving the wellbeing of people. Additionally, policies hinder certain individuals to actively take part in social and community activities.
One major challenge that has pose the greatest risk in attainment of wellbeing is linked to political polices as well as political stability. In the recent past particularly 1990s upwards, there has been incidences of political instability that has generated conflicts which did escalate into war. Additionally due to differing ideologies and globalization, the issue of terrorism has been of concern not only to American but also to the entire world (Keyes, 1998). People are now living with fear of being attacked. It is worth mentioning that such kind of uncertainty deprives people happiness and satisfaction they need in life. On the same note, regions with higher levels of democracy, accountability and transparency in governance seem to support citizen with higher level of wellbeing. However, the egoism and egocentrism marked with greed by the few in power has deprived the majority the chance to enjoy positive attributes associated with democratic society.
Interestingly, in the wake of 21st century, technological innovation has been seen to play a major role in fostering human wellbeing. However, a closer examination of events seems to paint a contrary picture. It is technology that has made it very easy for international terrorism to be achievable. Additionally, the ethical issue arising from use of such innovation as social networks among others which as resulted to security threats all work in depriving the populace to fully enjoy life.
When one focuses on how the environment has played a major role in hindering realization of wellbeing; the whole problem is attributed to human selfish nature of trying to maximize wellbeing by overexploiting the environment. Economic expansion has roots in extensive agriculture and industrialization. Without striking a balance, between economic expansion and environmental protection, pollution then occurs (Griffin, 1986). The ultimate problem linked to such a scenario is emergence of complex set of healthcare problems, inadequate land for agriculture hence food shortages, global warming resulting to desertification among other. All this make it difficult and even impossible to derive wellbeing.
It is worth noting that the various challenges do have serious consequences to the society. When individuals are not happy as a result of lower level of wellbeing, then majority might easily engage in activities that will even worsen the situation. For instance, when one is jobless, lack adequate food among others, he/she might take part in terrorism acts, stealing as well as other social evil. However, as suggested by Veenhoven, 2002 all is not lost because the problems can be countered by strengthening civil societies, social wellbeing as well as citizenship, discouraging materialism, egocentrism, greed and promoting authentic advertising, encourage environment protection, promoting health, enhance peaceful coexistence and ,ore importantly support existence of a well thought economies.