For now, I just want to posit the possibility that small farm societies of the future might potentially deliver a decent level of human wellbeing.
How people see humanity’s future may not simply reflect what they expect the future might hold. Their views involve complex and subtle relationships between expected future conditions, contemporary social realities and personal states of mind. Future visions can both reflect and reinforce social conditions and personal attributes.
The work on progress indicators is all well and good, especially in challenging the political priority given to GDP. However, over the years I have grown more sceptical of the possibility of measuring, accurately and fully, the state of nations and the wellbeing of their people.
William Davies’ new book The Happiness Industry is a fascinating and vivid journey through the history of economics, advertising, psychology, management and more.
Humans are storytelling beings. In fact one could argue that it is impossible to make sense of the world without story.
Since 2010 the government has made great strides in measuring population wellbeing. The question now is how to use that data, and other evidence on wellbeing, to create better policies.
Wednesday 20th March 2013 was a historic day for global wellbeing, because the United Nations declared it the first ever International Day of Happiness. This signifies recognition of the relevance of happiness and wellbeing as universal goals in people’s lives around the world, and acknowledgement of the importance of these goals in public policy objectives.
I don’t live in London anymore and it must have been years now since I walked past these stone fountains at Lancaster Gate. My parents ashes are scattered among the horse chestnut trees at the water’s edge and I have come to touch base in a hard winter, when it seems my world has come to a grinding halt. Your parents can give you good reasons for being here, so long as you don’t get waylaid by happy family stories and too much psychology. My father was a lawyer but he dreamed of being a travelling writer, my mother was a secretary and a wife, but dreamed of being an artist and living in a community. I have lived out their dreams.