There is a paradox at the heart of our lives. Most people want more income. Yet as societies become richer, they do not become happier. This paradox is not just anecdotally true, it is the story told by countless pieces of scientific research.
Professor Lord Layard, emeritus professor of economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), answers tough questions about his new book Happiness in a public lecture at LSE on Wednesday 9 March.
Happiness: lessons from a new science (Penguin, March 2005) offers a vision of a better life, based on the insights of psychology, economics and social philosophy.
We now have sophisticated ways of measuring how happy people are, and all the evidence shows that on average, people have grown no happier in the last fifty years, even as average incomes have more than doubled. In fact, the First World has more depression, more alcoholism and more crime than fifty years ago. This paradox is true of Britain, the United States, continental Europe and Japan. What is going on?
Professor Lord Layard is emeritus professor of economics at LSE and was founder-director of the LSE Centre for Economic Performance. He is the intellectual architect of the New Deal for the unemployed.
Andrew Marr, the BBC's political editor and author of My Trade: a short history of British journalism, will act as interlocutor.
Can We Become Happier? is on Wednesday 9 March at 6.45pm in the Old Theatre, Old Building, LSE, Houghton Street, London WC2A. This event is free and open to all with no ticket required. Entry is on a first come, first serve basis.
To reserve a press seat, please contact Jessica Winterstein, LSE Press Office, on 020 7955
7060 or email j.Winterstein@lse.ac.uk
29 February 2005