Author(s): William Davies
In winter 2014, a Tibetan monk lectured the world leaders gathered at Davos on the importance of Happiness. In the recent DSM 5, the charter of all diagnosable mental illnesses for the first time included shyness and grief as treatable diseases. Happiness has become the biggest idea of ourage, a new religion dedicated to well being. In this brilliant dissection of our times, political economist William Davies shows how this philosophy, first pronounced by Jeremy Bentham in the 1780s, has dominated the political debates that have delivered neoliberalism. From a history of business strategies of how to get the best out of employees, to the increased level of surveillance measuring every aspect of our lives, why experts prefer to measure the chemical in the brain than ask you how you are feeling, to why Freakonomics tells us less about the way people behave than expected, The Happiness Industry is an essential guide to the marketisation of modern life. He shows that the science of happiness is less a science than an extension of hyper capitalism.
Praise for The Limits of Neoliberalism: "Brilliant - explains how the rhetoric of competition has invaded almost every domain of our existence." Evgeny Morozov, author of To Save Everything, Click Here In a heady mixture of psychology, economics, sociology, and philosophy, this book reveals the misguided nature of the currently popular intellectual project to make people happier and improve society through 'scientific' understanding - and manipulation - of human beings. With many governments and corporations hell-bent on control promoting it aggressively, this project is increasingly depriving our societies of true social bonds, democratic participation, critical thinking, and even happiness itself. An eye-opening, head-spinning, and mind-expanding book. --Ha-Joon Chang, University of Cambridge, author of 23 Things They Don't Tell You about Capitalism
WILLIAM DAVIES is the author of The Limits of Neoliberalism. His writing has appeared in New Left Review, Prospect, Financial Times and Open Democracy. His website www.potlatch.co.uk was featured in the New York Times. He teaches at Goldsmiths, London.