The Economics of Happiness

By Jim Carey

Economic globalization has led to a massive expansion in the scale and power of transnational corporations as well as global banks too big to jail. It has also worsened nearly every problem we face: fundamentalism, racism and ethnic conflict, mass migrations, climate chaos and species extinction, financial instability and unemployment, continuing wars, and the militarization of security forces in over 80 countries. For the majority of people on the planet life is becoming increasingly stressful.

Film Occupy
The Economics of Happiness
Mon, Aug 3, 1pm
Quinta Loreto Hotel
Loreto 15

The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, government and big business continue to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, all around the world people are resisting those policies, demanding a re-­regulation of trade and finance and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re­build more human-scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm—an economics of localization.

We hear from a chorus of voices from six continents telling us that climate change and peak oil give us little choice: we need to localize, to bring the economy home. The good news is that as we move in this direction we will begin not only to heal the earth but also to restore our own sense of well­ being.

What is required in a rich country such as the United States at present, as detailed in Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything, is not an abandonment of all the comforts of civilization but a reversion to the standard of living of the 1970s—two decades into what Galbraith dubbed “the affluent society.” A return to a lower per capita output (in GDP terms) could be made feasible with redistribution of income and wealth, social planning, decreases in working time, and universal satisfaction of genuine human needs (a sustainable environment: clean air and water, ample food, clothing and shelter, high-quality health care, education, public transportation, and a rich community cultural life) such that most people would experience a substantial improvement in their daily lives. What Naomi Klein envisions would truly be an ecological cultural revolution. All that is really required, since the necessary technological means already exist, is people power: the democratic mass mobilization of the population.


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