The politics of wellbeing is ‘surreal’

Catherine Bennett wrote a good piece in the Observer criticising the Young Foundation’s new report and the general ‘politics of wellbeing’.

She writes:

It may not be a very scholarly term, but for think tank fashion and versatility, you can’t beat the word brittle. A few months ago, in a report called “Resilient nation”, Demos proclaimed that “British society is increasingly brittle”. That kind of brittleness originated in things such as unpredictable food supply and sewerage systems and in pretty much anything else that looked dodgy: “The environment itself is becoming more brittle.” And so, it appears, are all of us. Last week, the Young Foundation scattered the word throughout a new report.

“Too many parts of British society are brittle, vulnerable to shocks, stressed… and in some cases close to the edge,” the authors began, in this 250-page addition to the literature on wellbeing. By the end of the report, you gathered that the whole country is afflicted with galloping osteoporosis.

She made some good points about the dodginess of using ‘national happiness levels’ as a guide to, say, economic policy. She doesn’t seem to know much about CBT though. Anyway, here’s the article.

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