Monday, January 31, 2011

The Economics of Happiness

Last Thursday (Jan 27) I went to a screening of the documentary "The Economics of Happiness at the Cooper Union in downtown Manhattan, New York City. It was a great documentary documenting the need for the world's economy to shift from globalization to a locally based one. There were 8 key facts that they highlighted about globalization.


  1. Makes us unhappy (There is now more depression and stress than ever because we are constantly striving for more. Our happiness is based on "stuff," of which we always want more!)
  2. Breeds insecurity (corporations are raising our children!)
  3. Wastes natural resources (consume, consume, consume)
  4. Accelerates Climate Change
  5. Destroys livelihoods
  6. Increases conflict
  7. Is built on handouts to big businesses
  8. Is based on false accounting

One great quotation from the movie:

"You cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet."

So simple - yet so true. After this was said the entire audience released a sigh of understanding and contemplation.

But the film did have a sort of sense of hopelessness. It is great when a movie can make you feel depressed about a subject and then lift you up at the end with an inspirational call to action, but at the end of this movie the message was that we really can't change most of this. It is up to governments and big businesses to change regulations. The U.S. currently imports and exports similar amounts, and that is not something that is going to change by using reusable bags and reducing your waste - this is something that has to change fundamentally with policy and from the top.

However I do highly recommend the film. Here is a link to the website:

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