Economics of Happiness Conference March 15-17 2013, Byron Bay, Australia
The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, an unholy alliance of governments and big business continues to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, people all over the world are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance—and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future.
The Economics of Happiness shows communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.
The film shows how globalization breeds cultural self-rejection, competition and divisiveness; how it structurally promotes the growth of slums and urban sprawl; how it is decimating democracy. We learn about the obscene waste that results from trade for the sake of trade: apples sent from the UK to South Africa to be washed and waxed, then shipped back to British supermarkets; tuna caught off the coast of America, flown to Japan to be processed, then flown back to the US. We hear about the suicides of Indian farmers; about the demise of land-based cultures in every corner of the world.
The Economics of Happiness provides not only inspiration, but practical solutions. Arguing that economic localization is a strategic solution multiplier that can solve our most serious problems, the film spells out the policy changes needed to enable local businesses to survive and prosper and gives concrete examples from around the globe.
The film also proclaims the benefits of an expanding local food movement as evidenced in the restoration of biological diversity, communities and local economies worldwide.
Both the film and conference bring together a chorus of voices from six continents, including Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, Mark Anielski, Michael Shuman, Rachel Ward, Kerrianne Cox, Helena Norberg-Hodge, Charles Eisenstein, Richard Neville and Keibo Oiwa. These voices tell us that climate change and peak oil give us little choice: we need to localize, to bring the economy home. The good news is that as we move in this direction we will begin not only to heal the earth but also to restore our own sense of well-being. The Economics of Happiness challenges us to restore our faith in humanity, challenges us to believe that it is possible to build a better world.
The Economics of Happiness conference 2013 will focus on the multiple benefits of localisation, an economic strategy that can take us away from jobless growth towards sustainable livelihoods; from giant, unaccountable corporations towards human-scale business; from self-recrimination towards empowerment; from competition to collaboration; from a globalised system of exploitation and pollution towards an economics of human and ecological well-being, or “an economics of happiness”.
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