On wealth versus well-being
“I don’t mind being called an idealistic idiot,” he told Reuters, with reference to a philosophy he summed up as “the macro-economic text-books are works of fiction”.
Undaunted by the non-believers, he will continue to spread the word and in Davos addressed the assembled money-makers on the importance of “gross domestic happiness”, as opposed to gross domestic product.
His new economics aspire to demonstrate “real economic well-being” through sustainable living, a focus on the local, not the global, and a more equal distribution of wealth.
The foundation’s latest survey of National Accounts of Well-being, based on around 40,000 interviews across Europe, found overworked, tired, bored and lonely Britons were near the bottom of the league.
Increasingly, they might be ready to give new economics a try. To that extent, Wallis’ time has come.
But there is work to be done. Regardless of the world economic crisis, convincing the people of Davos, both visiting and permanent, of the need to jettison old economics remains a challenge. The Swiss in general come very near the top of the well-being league, with their perfectly groomed ski pistes, quantities of chocolate and discreet wealth.