Archive for April, 2008

Josie Appleton has a perceptive review of Benjamin Barber’s Consumed in the latest (April) spiked review of books. Rather than focus too closely on the book itself she looks at the changing ethic of capitalism. In broad terms her breakdown is the following: * “The capitalist bookkeeper”. The model was Benjamin Franklin (18th century). Its […]

I am happy to say that the Brighton Salon had already written up the introduction I gave on happiness on Wednesday and the subsequent discussion. Daniel Ben Ami’s introduction?: Visualise two kinds of people; the Dalai lama, a smiling happy and spiritual person and a city trader, greedy, driven by money and uncaring about other […]

Why are environmentalists obsessed with the idea of apocalypse? Rebecca Onion, a writer based in Texas, discusses the question in an article in Slate. She points to contemporary authors such as James Howard Kunstler and Alan Weisman as examples of the trend. But the strain of thought emerged in the 1970s with the likes of […]

A useful reminder in today’s Observer (London) that Bhutan is not the haven of happiness that many of its admirers assume. Bhutan’s Buddhist regime is often lauded for making Gross National Happiness rather than economic growth a national goal. However, the article tells us that: “behind its facade of otherworldly charm, Bhutan holds a secret. […]

Ceri Dingle of Worldwrite has previewed a BBC documentary series on six fashion designers who visit India to work for firms producing clothes for the British high street. Evidently the young British brats cannot even sew straight and are contemptuous of Indians. The views of the Indian clothing workers are not even represented on screen. […]

Today’s New York Times has an article calling “Easterlin’s paradox” into question. The paradox is named after Richard Easterlin, then of the University of Pennsylvania, who argued (PDF) in 1974 that economic growth does not necessarily increase happiness. At a Brookings Institution event last week two economists evidently presented a rebuttal (PDF) of the paradox. […]

I disagree with Paul Collier, author of The Bottom Billion, on many things. Readers may remember that I debated him at the Battle of Ideas 2007. But he makes some astute points on the current food crisis in an article in today’s Times (London): “The remedy to high food prices is to increase supply. The […]

I have belatedly discovered a BBC Radio 4 Analysis programme, presented by Kenan Malik, on climate change. The programme, broadcast earlier this month, also included James Woudhuysen.

Tomorrow the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution and the Commission on Growth and Development will hold a joint discussion on the role of economic growth in poverty reduction. Participants will include Robert Rubin, Michael Spence, Larry Summers. The Growth Commission includes some useful working papers on its website including one by Ravi Kanbur.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has started producing newsletters to promote its project on “measuring the progress of societies” (see 24 June 2007 post). The welcome note on the first issue discusses the January annoucement by Nicholas Sarkozy, the French president, of a commission to investigate alternative measures of economic progress and […]