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The Economics of Happiness

By Jim Carey

Economic globalization has led to a massive expansion in the scale and power of transnational corporations. Global banks are now too big to jail. These changes have worsened nearly every problem we face: fundamentalism, racism, and ethnic conflict, mass migrations, climate change, and species extinction, financial instability, and unemployment, continuing wars, and the militarization of security forces in countries all over the world. For most of the planet’s people, life has become increasingly stressful and uncertain. The election of Donald Trump in the United States will, in all probability, accelerate our domestic and global problems.

Occupy SMA meeting, film, and discussion
The Economics of Happiness
Mon, Dec 12, 1pm
Quinta Loreto Hotel
Loreto 15
Free admission

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. On the other hand, all around the world people are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance. Far removed from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a different future. Communities are coming together to build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm—an economics of localization. In November 2016 at COP 22 in Marrakech, we heard representatives of 200 countries—a chorus of voices from six continents—telling us that climate change and fossil fuel use give us little choice: we need to localize, to bring the economy closer to home.

The good news is that, as we move in this direction, we 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 is detailed in Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything. It does not involve an abandonment of the comforts of civilization but instead requires reversion to the standard of living of the 1970s, two decades into what John K. Galbraith dubbed “the affluent society.”

A return to a lower per capita output (in GDP terms) can be feasible with redistribution of income and wealth, social planning, decreases in working time, and universal satisfaction of genuine human needs.  Such genuine human needs include a sustainable environment, clean air and water, ample food, clothing and shelter, high-quality health care, public education and transportation, and a rich community-cultural life.  Most people on the planet would experience a substantial improvement in their daily lives. Naomi Klein envisions an ecological-cultural revolution. As the necessary technological means already exist, what is required is “people power” and the democratic mass mobilization of the population. Under President Trump, such mass mobilization and resistance is absolutely essential.

The Economics of Happiness restores our faith in humanity and challenges us to believe that it is possible to build a better world. Join this important discussion on Monday. All of Occupy SMA’s events are free.


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