Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Newsnight: Socialism Makes You Happy.

It was reported on Newsnight, last night, that some body or another has identified 5 policies which would make people happier. Here they are:

1. Promote employment
2. Reduce conspicuous inequalities
3. Promote/improve direct democracy
4. Abolish aspirational advertising
5. Cut out government corruption and incompetence

Employment is central to people's well being - even more so than money and spending power. Apparently, in terms of happiness levels, it would take something like 25k a month (from memory) to compensate someone for the loss of their job. People like to work, like to be busy and enjoy the social camaraderie that goes with employment. Clear inequalities of wealth and life chances also damages people's happiness - the conspicuous consumption of the very rich, especially, makes those less fortunate feel worthless and anxious. Improved democracy and direct grassroots control of representatives helps to make people feel more in control of society and of their own lives. Aspirational advertising continuously functions to increase people's dissatisfaction with their own lives - we are constantly fed images of happy, pretty, rich-looking people, consuming whatever commodity it is that the advertisers are trying to flog. These ads are, of course, deliberately designed, to make us feel anxious about ourselves and to feel that, unless we purchase these particular commodities, we'll be missing out on what those other happy people in the ads have. Of course, this anxiety is never disspelled, and our manufactured desires never sated, since there's always something else to flog. Finally, government corruption and incompetence, apparently, makes us all unhappy - lack of control over representatives.

What's striking about these suggested policies (with the possible exception of 5, which is rather more politically neutral than the others) is just how fricking socialist they are. Socialism makes you happy - it's official - Newsnight said it.

My satisfaction with this piece was increased all the more, by the fact that this report came as part of a segment on the Cameron New Model Tory party's latest PR offensive. Cameron wants to make us all happier and the Conservatives are now convinced, apparently, that there is more to life than making money (hallelujah!). So I'll be expecting to see Nick Soames, Ken Clarke, Zac Goldsmith and so on giving away their enormous fortunes some time soon then.

Talking of the Tories, does anyone else find Adam Rickett's inclusion on the Conservative 'A-list' enormously funny? I saw that A-lister Louise Bagshawe ('chick lit' author and literary intellectual) on the Newsnight sofa last night. Impressively aristocratic name that - Bagshawe. Still, she really seemed like a breath of fresh air, what with her public school accent and her diatribe about the unions 'running the country' in the 1970s.

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?