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I'm looking forward to the film showing on Saturday, 3pm.  The Economics of Happiness . More info at the bottom of this page.   


There's a lot of thinking going on these days about what really makes us happy, and what's really important in life.  Some articles I've come across...


Conversation Leads to Positive Connections by Cecile Andrews

Interest in “happiness” is exploding! Book after book talks about new research. There’s an outpouring of international interest in Gross National Happiness, measuring progress in terms of the well-being of people and the planet, not just Gross Domestic Product.

Why this new interest? There seems to be a sense of urgency, a feeling that we can’t just go on in our same, old ways. We know that people and the planet are in deep trouble.

And much of that trouble can be traced to our confusion about happiness. Our mistaken belief that lots of money brings happiness has meant that we’ve stood by as profit-without-principle became our country’s chief goal.

We’ve accepted the greed and devastation to people and the planet because we believe that someday we will be rich and, therefore, we’ll be happy.

But neither is true. We’re extremely unlikely to get rich, (there are very few rags-to-riches stories these days), and after a certain point, more money does not bring greater happiness.

What does? Social ties — friends and family and community; a feeling of safety and security because we know that we belong, that we’re cared for, that we will not be left alone and abandoned. There’s little of this in our cutthroat economy...


Happiness Movement Hits the UK

Surprise! After almost a century of rampant consumerism, the traditional wisdom is making a comeback. In the UK last month, there was a media rollout for the Action for Happiness. The leaders are not monks or hippies, but Lord Layard, a British economist, Geoff Mulgan, the former director of policy under Tony Blair, and Anthony Seldon, the master of Wellington College and biographer of Mr Blair. The Dalai Lama is a supporter.  The link above takes you to further links on Energy Bulletin of numerous articles in the British press.


Sustainable Seattle's Happiness Initiative
Learn about Seattle's application of the Gross National Happiness model and download the toolkit!


The Economics of Happiness - The Movie

 ‘Going local’ is a powerful strategy to repair our fractured world—our ecosystems, our societies and our selves

 One showing only: 3pm, May 7th, at the Pickford Film Center (1318 Bay St.)
Economic globalization has led to a massive expansion in the scale and power of big business and banking. It has also worsened nearly every problem we face: fundamentalism and ethnic conflict; climate chaos and species extinction; financial instability and unemployment. There are personal costs too. For the majority of people on the planet life is becoming increasingly stressful. We have less time for friends and family and we face mounting pressures at work.
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 re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.
We hear from a chorus of voices from six continents including Rob Hopkins, Samdhong Rinpoche, the Prime Minister of Tibet's government in exile, Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, David Korten and Zac Goldsmith. They tell 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. The Economics of Happiness restores our faith in humanity and challenges us to believe that it is possible to build a better world.


Film Review by Rob Hopkins
Running for 65 minutes, it is certainly a very well-produced film which crackles along with good pace.  There were never any moments when my eyelids began to feel heavy or my attention drifted elsewhere.  The film builds its case against globalisation patiently, its centrepiece being 8 arguments against globalisation.  It doesn’t pull its punches.  Globalisation makes us unhappier, less skilled, less socially connected, was only made possible because of huge subsidies from governments, is catastrophic in terms of climate change and reduces food security (among other things).  This is not a film that seeks to give a balance to both sides of the argument, it has a case to make and it makes it very well...

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Comment by Heather K on May 10, 2011 at 2:45pm

"Ideas for a Local Economy & Happy Planet Index”-


For over a decade I used to live a very simple life close to the earth; sleeping in a tipi, sweat lodge, abandoned houses, covered carts, and tents. I was blessed to experience the independence from paying rent, owing taxes, and maintaining vehicle insurance & payments.  Happiness exists in each moment, although the illusions of ownership & security worries can deform its delicate presence.

During my travels off-continent, I've been blessed to walk among cultures of people who live simply on the earth, value family & community, and share their abundance in a gifting economy.  The beauty of their lives lives is an ancient memory in my heart.  There are still families who do this on our continent, though they are mostly nomadic, and often 'invisible' to our culture.   The force of technological dominance I've seen effect their lives is heartbreaking.

5 Happiness Keys: "Connect – Be Active – Notice – Keep Learning – Give” - from “Happy Planet Index” TED talk-   

17 Rules ofr a Sustainable Community – Wendell Berry-

The Idea of a Local Economy”- Wendell Berry-

Thanks David for your blog post! I am often inspired by our elder Wendell Berry, who has taught & lived a local rural life with simple values for past decades during our cultures technological global colonizations. I can recommend many of Wendell's non-fiction essays on community, the environment, and farming. (My full comment on blog post- )

Comment by Tris Shirley on May 6, 2011 at 9:24pm
An early discussion of some of these issues can be found in The Overworked American by Juliet B. Schor, Harper Collins, 1993.  The book does a good job of describing the gradual reduction of leisure time and the impact of that reduction on quality of life.  Globalization is merely the most recent contributor to a problem that has been developing for a long time.

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