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The Economics of Happiness


reviewed by Kristine Morris

A Film by Helena Norberg-Hodge, Steven Gorelick & John Page

Economics of HappinessWith economic growth touted as the solution to all of humanity’s problems, this film brings a timely and important message: we need to confront the myths around what it takes to be happy and fulfilled and make the changes needed to satisfy those conditions before the cancer of “growth at any cost” destroys us. The Economics of Happiness reveals how slavery has taken on a new form in our time. Instead of largescale colonization and the enslavement of entire populations by force, today’s slavery is more likely to look like debt, with individuals, families, and whole countries struggling under heavy loads of indebtedness that suck the life force out of them, even as it keeps the wheels of the economy turning.

The film powerfully and convincingly presents some “inconvenient truths” about globalization; truths that undeniably demonstrate that while it may look like a good idea on the surface, globalization actually ends up making people less happy. From its disruption of local economies of scale and traditional social networks, to its encouragement of indebtedness and the increases in confl ct it causes as individuals and nations compete for ever-scarcer resources, globalization is demonstrating that it is, in effect, based on false accounting principles that do not take into account its actual and long-term cost.

The film is not all gloom and doom; in fact, it is quite hopeful that change is not only a possibility but is actually happening now, all over the world. It strongly suggests that replacing globalization policies with those favoring localization can result in greater security for individuals, communities, and nations and give rise to a true “economics of happiness.”

> Back to May/June 2011 Reviews


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