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The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth Paperback – Jun 1 2007
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We all know that money can't buy you love…or happiness, but we have been living our lives as though the accumulation of wealth is the key to our dreams.
Why, in spite of increasing economic prosperity over the past 50 years, are many conditions of well-being in decline and rates of happiness largely unchanged since the 1950s?
Why do our measures of economic progress not reflect the values that make us happy: supportive relationships, meaningful work, a healthy environment, and our spiritual well-being?
Economist Mark Anielski developed a new and practical economic model called Genuine Wealth, to measure the real determinants of well-being and help redefine progress. The Economics of Happiness shows:
- How economics, capitalism, accounting and banking, which dominate our consciousness, can be reoriented towards the pursuit of genuine happiness.
- How to rediscover the original meaning of the language of economics.
- How to measure the five capitals of Genuine Wealth: human, social, natural, built and financial.
- How nations, governments, communities and businesses are using the Genuine Wealth model to build a new economy of well-being.
- How you and your family can apply the Genuine Wealth model in your lives.
Anielski's road-map towards this vision of flourishing economies of well-being will resonate with individuals, communities and governments interested in issues of sustainability and quality of life.(2007-04-20)
About the Author
Mark Anielski is an economist, consultant and Adjunct Professor in both the School of Business, University of Alberta and the Bainbridge Island Graduate Institute. He was named a "rising star" amongst international progressive economists by Adbusters magazine in 2004, and awarded the 2004 ECO Award for his work on the Genuine Progress Indicator.
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Happiness is the anchor of Mark's theories, and it seems as though happiness is commensurate with more harmonic ways of living and being, as a species. However, "Genuine" happiness is the focus as opposed to feigned or manufactured happiness, and I really appreciate this aspect of the book. Just as Jeremy Rifkin has expressed in "The European Dream", the American Dream of a completely isolationist, consumerist, accumulative and lavish existence is rapidly being exposed as a fast path to depression and disconnectedness. This feeling of discontent is probably the most commonly-shared aspect of being an American citizen.
Mark ties these themes to environmental sustainability through the examination of community models of sufficiency. I had previously lumped the word "sufficiency" in with the taste of medicine and awkward phone calls to distant relatives. However, Mark examines communities that enjoy a markedly higher quality of life through a shared, cooperativistic living framework. Such an examination gives a relative context for how well we think we're doing as a society. Such "happy" societies also seem to have a much smaller ecological footprint.
I feel as though this is a crucial read at this time, as many people begin to search for new ways to plan... on scales ranging from the dinner table to the nation.
Mark is a true master at presenting a massive knowledge base in an effective and economic manner.
According to Anielski, the “ideal economic hero” of a system anchored to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is “a chain-smoking terminal cancer patient going through an expensive divorce, whose car is totaled in a 20-car pile-up as a result of [his] being distracted by his cell phone while munching on a fast-food hamburger—all activities which contribute to the GDP.”
Smart, provocative, and wonderfully written, The Economics of Happiness is a must-read for those who aspire to something deeper.
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