The Happiness Industry
How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being
New Books in Big IdeasNew Books in Critical TheoryNew Books in MedicineNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in PsychologyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books in Science & TechnologyNew Books Network August 18, 2015 Dave O'Brien
Are you happy? In his new book The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being (Verso, 2015), William Davies, a senior lecturer at Goldsmiths’ College, University of London, critically investigates this question. The book offers skepticism towardsthe demand that economy and society be happy, skepticism founded in an interrogation of the practices of contemporary government and businesses. A whole range of our everyday experiences, including ‘nudges’ for citizens and staff, the perverse incentives of metrics, through tothe consequences of how psychiatry classifies depression, are subject to critical scrutiny.Moreover, the book acts as a primer on economics, psychology and organizational theory, clearly articulating the roots and the consequences of our current economic and social settlement. The book concludes with the possibility of a more democratic way of organizing the world, in contrast to our impersonal, oppressive, and data driven present. Dr Davies is a co-director of Goldsmiths’ Political Economy Research Centre and blogs at Potlatch.