Back in the Middle Ages, no-one took any notice of Copernicus when he said the Earth was not at the centre of the universe.

Stewart Wallis, executive director of London-based “think-and-do-tank” the New Economics Foundation and one of the thousands attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, can sympathise.

“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.