The New Republic has a cover story by eminent social historian Deirdre McCloskey warning of the dangers of Happyism, or ‘the creepy new economics of pleasure’. The piece shows American culture beginning to engage more deeply with the politics of well-being – there have also been excellent articles recently in The Atlantic and I wrote Read more…

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One of the interesting things about the politics of well-being is how, in the UK, it began as a movement on the Left, through figures like Geoff Mulgan (the head of Blair’s policy unit), and Richard Layard, but then managed to cross over and become a cross-party consensus, both in the Lib Dems (through people Read more…

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People keep asking what’s the next ‘big idea’. The philosophy festival How The Light Gets In, in Hay-On-Wye next month, has a whole session devoted to ‘the end of big ideas’ (well..for you maybe!)  The philosopher Bryan Appleyard likewise opined on Twitter: ‘The centre left dream of Europe is dead, neo-liberalism is dead, neo-conservatism is Read more…

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Martin Seligman is undoubtedly a genius at attracting funding. But how good is his history of psychology? His funding pitch usually begins with the insistence that he radically altered the direction of psychology when he launched Positive Psychology in 1998. In his inaugural speech as president of the American Psychology Association in 1998, he insisted Read more…

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On Tuesday I went to talk by Brigadier-General Rhonda Cornum (pictured right), who used to be in charge of the US Army’s $125 million resilience-training programme. The event was also the launch of the Young Foundation’s Resilience project. It was held at Macquarie Bank in the City, in a penthouse office-room full of funders, NGOs Read more…

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