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The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth Paperback – Jun 1 2007

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: New Society Publishers (June 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865715963
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865715967
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #129,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


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.

Nautilus Gold AwardAnielski'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.


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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Amazon.com: HASH(0x9ed52ad4) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9eea55a0) out of 5 stars Timely Redefinition June 26 2007
By Joseph L. Hundert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
During a point in time when we are struggling to define "sustainability" and how to reduce the amount of damage we do as a species, Mark has offered a much deeper perspective on the drivers of our behavior.

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.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9eea55f4) out of 5 stars WOW - I never realized I was so miserable June 27 2009
By C. D. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book that lays out the ways that happiness can be quantified and excellent examples of what that looks like statistically. This book is not for the faint at heart or those lacking either policy or fiscal backgrounds. It gets a little technical at times and is full of jargon. But if you are a progressive working in public policy it is a real gem. I have bought several copies for egg-head friends.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f2a8a80) out of 5 stars new direction in ewconomic thinking Sept. 4 2012
By Almantas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
an excellent and exciting book combining economics and philosophy that has both theoretical validity and practical significance. It surely represents the thinking of the future. Plus written with clarity and vision. Style merges good academic writing with warm personal narrative.
HASH(0xa1f64d68) out of 5 stars Passionate Argument for a New Economics July 11 2014
By Marilyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Economics of Happiness is an eloquent, fact-filled, passionate argument for why we must change the way we live. Mark Anielski is a trustworthy guide—not only through the dismal science of traditional economics, but also along the path to a new accounting of what he terms “genuine wealth.” As this erudite author points out, the very word “wealth” derives from the Old English for “the conditions of well-being.” And what are the overlooked conditions of well-being in today’s economy? Such immeasurably valuable assets as leisure time, healthy communities, spiritual vitality, a flourishing environment, equitable distribution of income, the honoring of essential unpaid work like caregiving and volunteerism, and in general anything that prizes sustainability and thoughtful frugality over mindless spending and waste.

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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9eea5a2c) out of 5 stars Interesting June 21 2013
By Sandra W. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed the content of the book. I ordered it for a project in my economics course and it gave valuable insight to alternative forms of economic measurements.