Greatest challenges to well being in the 21st century
Well being can be defined as a state of existence characterized by satisfaction in terms of health, happiness and prosperity. Well being is a broad and entails various concepts that aim at development of quality of life of individuals such as career, social, financial, physical and community well being. Research studies reveal that approximately 66 percent of the global populations have attained at least one element of these aspects of well being, while only 7 percent are doing well on all the domains of well being. Any factor that serves as a barrier to achieving any of the domains of the well being affects human development both at the individual and at the societal level. Attaining a standard level of well being during times characterized by radical changes is usually difficult at any level such as the individual, community and at the national level. In the context of 21st century, various barriers serve as impediments to achieving well being of individuals and the society. An analysis of the challenges to well being during the 21st century requires having a critical insight into factors that hinder human development in the various domains of well being (Nettle, 2005). This essay attempts to investigate the challenges associated with achieving well being during the 21st century.
The nature of the society in the 21st century is one of the greatest challenges to well being. In this regard, the perceptions of the social variables that are an integral element of human development are subject to dissimilar perceptions that may be misleading to the individual and as a result, hinder personal development. The values and principles that the society embraces are a hindrance to personal development. For instance, it is difficult to achieve well being in a society that embraces aspects such as gay marriages, marijuana legalization and other practices that serve to undermine the societal norms and values. A challenge that impedes well being in the 21st century is the factors associated social challenges. Social challenges are broad and incorporate all issues that relate to social development of a person. The social context witnessed in the 21st century is characterized by varying perceptions and misconceptions towards the notion of well being. These different perceptions themselves pose a challenge to the well-being of an individual. It is an intrinsic characteristic of human nature to be confused in scenarios that involved a large number of alternatives and or ideologies pertaining to well being. For instance, a large number of people in the youthful ages during the 21st century perceive social well being as that which relates to ones social life and maintaining relationships based on vogue principles. This social misconceptions and ideologies based on peer groups are one of the social challenges that hinder attainment of well being in the 21st century (Layard, 2005). The social context is in itself a challenge to achieving well being. This is because the society embraces vices such as drug abuse, deviant behavior, and increased crime rates and amidst other vices that hinder social relationships between people in a community. Such factors are a hindrance to achieving social well being. A good social setting allows individuals and groups to flourish positively. The social setting of the 21st century does not provide a good environment for personal and national development; this poses as one of the most significant challenges to well being during the 21st century (New Economics Foundation, 2004).
Another significant challenge to well being during the 21sr century is the high levels of economic constraints. The onset of the 21st century was characterized by high levels of inflation and financial crisis that affected sustainable development at the national level and the individual level. Financial constraints are a significant challenge to achieving well being that is associated with finances. It is arguably evident that sustainable development is measured in economic terms. Economic variables such as Gross Domestic Product, Income per Capita and poverty levels serve as measure of wellness at the national level. Any financial constraint has an effect on economic variables pose as a challenge to the nation and the individual from attaining some levels of economic and financial wellness. Generally, economic variables have an impact on other issues relating to the achievement of well being in the social and material domains. The financial meltdown witnessed during the onset of the 21st century is bound to have an effect on social services such as education, health, food, shelter and clothing, which are important aspects in the attainment of well being. The economic state experienced during the 21st century has accelerated the onset of social vice such increased crime rates, deviant behavior and lack of basic social services that have an impact on achieving well being. It is also evident that economic problems of the 21st century have affected the delivery of vital services such as housing and healthcare insurance to people (Hird, 2003). Therefore, extreme economic conditions serve as a constraint to the realization of almost every domain of well being both at the national and individual level. It is consented that relative income is one of the significant drivers of achieving well being since it influences a person’s and social relationships such a factors relating to employment, physical well being and most importantly, emotional well being. An important aspect well being is economic growth, research studies indicate that high economic growth characterized by high incomes and Gross Domestic Product per capita are one of the factors that influence individual satisfaction. This implies that limited economic growth is a constraint towards achieving individual satisfaction and ultimately well-being. Basing on this argument, the economic constraints experienced during the onset of the 21st century are one of the significant challenges to the attainment of any aspect of well being.
Another greatest challenge to well being during the 21st century is the political turmoil of the 21st century. Political aspects such as good governance are key determinants of wellness at the national and individual level. There is a relationship between the poor governance and lack of wellness in a society because poor governance results poor decisions that may affect the political well being of individuals in a society. A significant challenge to wellness is the political warfare evident between the countries resulting to mass killings, economic problems and a general disruption on the normal life. Political issues also influence the internal state of affairs within a country; as a result, it has an impact on social affiliations, and government involvement in the delivery of basic services to its citizens, which in turn affects the quality of life and well-being of its citizens. Therefore, it can be inferred that the political turmoil of the 21st century is one of the greatest challenges to achieving well being (Helliwell, 2004).
Another greatest challenge to wellness during the 21st century is the state of the environment. Environmental aspects and sustainable development are relative in influencing the state of well being in a society. A predominant constraint to sustainable development in the 21st century is the extreme levels of environmental degradation. Research studies reveal that local environment variables play a significant role in determining the quality of life of the community. For instance, poorly natured environment affects the quality of life by inflicting diseases, limiting the community’s participation in sustainable economic activities and affects the coexistence of humankind in a given habitat. An example of such limitation is the toxic emissions by industries to the air and water masses have a significant effect on the people health, as a result, reducing the quality of life. This implies that the predominance of environmental degradation experienced in the 21st century is a greatest challenge to achieving physical and economic well being. Studies reveal that health and physical wellness have a significant dependency on the state of environmental conditions. This means that increased disruption on the natural state of the environment has a significant effect on the quality of life.
It is arguably evident that there are diverse factors witnessed in the 21st century that pose as challenges to the achievement of wellbeing in the community and at the individual level. The most common inevitable factor being the social context of the 21st century that is characterized by misguided ideologies and the embracement of social vices by the society. In addition, political factors, economic constraints and environmental factors form most of the greatest challenges to achieving well being during the 21st century (Ryan et al, 2001).
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