Science Exchange Wallingford: Measuring Happiness, 12th January, 7.30pm

  • Science Exchange Wallingford’s next meeting is at 7.30pm on Tuesday 12th January in Wallingford School Library, St George’s Road, Wallingford. Meetings are very informal. Speakers talk for about half an hour, then break for refreshments and return for a lively question and answer session. The events are free to attend.
  • Peter Adamson’s talk, MEASURING HAPPINESS, will explore the pros, cons and pitfalls of current attempts to measure and compare levels of happiness and life-satisfaction in the world’s advanced industrial societies.Once a certain level of wealth has been achieved, does continued economic growth really make people happier and more satisfied with their lives? Or does the apparent rise in environmental damage, stress, depression and mental ill-health mean that the engine of economic growth has become uncoupled from the train of human well-being? Such questions have prompted academics and researchers to explore ways of measuring human well-being directly rather than by using GDP per capita as a proxy. But can well-being and life-satisfaction really be defined, measured and monitored? Can ‘Happiness Economics’ ever really be a science? And could it really be, as some researchers have claimed, ‘a remarkable new tool for policymakers’?
  • Peter Adamson was for sixteen years Senior Adviser to the Executive Director of UNICEF, with responsibility for the annual ‘State of the World’s Children’ report and ‘The Progress of Nations’. Working with the UNICEF Innocenti Research Centre in Florence, Peter also initiated the ‘Report Card’ series monitoring child well-being in advanced industrial economies and has been series editor for the last twelve years.