Barack Obama - "Government... should function for the public good, not for the benefit of just a few"

 Barack Obama said this recently in South Africa - he was aiming this at African Governments, but surely it applies to all governments. The common good, it would seem, is alive and kicking and running the USA. It's a shame that he is powerless to do anything. Here is a link to the report on this by the White House.

How to be happy according to the BBC

So what can governments do to help us all to make ourselves happier?

  • Encourage small local scale businesses to reduce commuting - help people to live and work in the same 'village'
  • Set up local facilities for social and political societies - village halls
  • Subsidise restaurants

Why we really are all in it together

 David Cameron famously said "We are all in it togather" causing howls of derisive laughter from around the country. What do a bunch of Eton and Bullingdon Club public school boys know about being in it at all? Surely they are so insulated from real life by their enourmous inherited wealth and positions of privelege and influence that they can never feel the pinch of recession. Surely, the public thinks, they can sit in their ivory towers glugging Krug and scoffing caviar encrusted ryvitas without any concern for the welfare of the rest of us.

More supermarkets won't make us richer

I keep hearing politicians and commentators say that a new supermarket opening is a good thing because it creates jobs and generates wealth. If only more supermarkets were opening we would all be saved! The unfortunate fact is that this just isn't true.

Did the Olympics Make Us Happy?

Well, that's that done for another 4 years. Or 2 years to the winter olympics - or 2 weeks to the paralympics. But anyway, it's all over - are we any happier?

It's a festival of sport, so maybe we all got some exercise and fresh air - but no, hang on, most of the country has been inside watching TV, which I learned recently consumes fewer calories than sleeping. So maybe it wasn't a fetival of sport at all, but a festival of TV. And beer of course, don't forget the reason this all happens - the sponsors.

Britains first Measure of Gross National Happiness

Read the BBC take on it here:

"People who are married, have jobs and own their own homes are the most likely to be satisfied with their lives"

Whilst Oliver Burkeman in The Guardian is a little more circumspect:

"Lying beneath all this is a philosophical conundrum about happiness: that aiming for it often makes it harder to achieve"

Can we legislate for the common good?

 Just watching Newsnight and the concept of the common good has come up in relation to tax evasion. That guy who lost his job at Saint Pauls over the occupy movement suggested that we might have to pass laws to encourage the common good. Crazy, I thought, how can you do that? Maybe this could be some kind of science fiction scenario, a world where it was illegal to act against the common good.

We can't all be billionaires - but we can all be happy

 The banking crisis was caused by people using the money trick - see the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists by Robert Tressel - to funnel cash from the poor to the rich. They pushed all the money into dividends and bonuses before busting the banks and demanding government bail-outs.

They mistakenly believe that huge wealth can somehow make them special cases and immune from unhappiness. Money can do so much for them, surely it can do thisd too. Sadly for all of us, they find that they are wrong too late to fix the damage they have caused.

Feast or Famine

christmasfeast08.jpgWe live in a very strange world where some people are obese while others are struggling to find food and neither state is a particularly happy one. 

Pension Strikes Aren't Making us Happy

 It's heart warming to see so many people getting out and about and doing something to change the world. Unfortunately, I can't help feeling that they are campaigning for the wrong thing!

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