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'Happiness Has Been Consumed By Capitalism'

So says Nina Power in the Guardian:

 In recent years, professor of law and ethics at the University of Chicago Martha Nussbaum (alongside economist Amartya Sen) has taken up the Aristotelian idea that the goal of philosophy is human flourishing and applied it to immediate questions of global social justice. We are all possessed of certain “capabilities”, she argues, ways of doing and being that we value, and she says public policy should prioritise and enable these, rather than obsessing over GNP per capita as a mark of a country’s “success” (states can be technically very rich, but extremely socially unjust – Nussbaum points to South Africa as an example).

While I of course agree about South Africa, doesn’t Prof. Nussbaum think that things like “GNP” and other “numbers” might be, I don’t know, important?  Countries like Zimbabwe didn’t bother with all that; its government focused solely on “justice”.  Well, just look how well Robert Mugabe and his reforms have worked out.  Now most Zimbabweans are billionaires!  Needless to say, it’s sadly ironic that so many of them are now trying to find work as illegal immigrants in post-apartheid South Africa, of all places.

Ms. Power concludes:

Despite the crisis, it seems clear that we haven’t moved far enough away from this impoverished economic moralism – the idea that we are supposed to care more if the economy is depressed rather than the people who work for it. Is our role merely to be consumers to stimulate a miserable financial system? To work hard in increasingly absent jobs only so we can bail out the retailers? Rather than prop up pernicious and Orwellian slogans such as the “big society”, we need to seize the means of the production of wellbeing – those things we already value that go far beyond the accumulation of wealth or material possessions – and make a society out of that instead.

In my opinion, the author would do well to visit any country that still exists with a government that’s attempted to “seize the means of production”, and see how happy and well-off the people there really are.

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'Happiness Has Been Consumed By Capitalism'

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