Book: Happiness; Lessons from a new science
Happiness; Lessons from a new science
Richard Laycock. Penguin Books
This short book blows a hole in the notion that increased wealth and GDP is a measure of success. It takes a step back from the obsession with annual increases that many assume are equal to an annual rise in the quality of enjoyable life.
The startling facts that emerge are that beyond a certain basic subsistence level with food, shelter, education, water and civil society then increasing wealth does not give increased happiness. Indeed the GDP may have doubled since the 1950s but measures of happiness and contentment have remained flat. These findings are not just theory but have emerged from real surveys in the wide world by sociologists. The author is from the London School of Economics.
So more gadgets mean more to go wrong. More wages may come at the price of moving away from satisfying relationships with family and friends. This is encouraging to transitioners as a future low carbon economy may be poor in foreign flights, new cars and luxury goods but rich in more satisfying neighbourhood relationships and mutual help.