WEDNESDAY February 9, 2022 

  • TIME: 5,30pm – 7pm
Ecology of Happiness – Stefano Bartolini
Empirical evidence suggests that achieving sustainability requires reducing economic growth, not just greening it. This conclusion often leads to ecological pessimism, based on two beliefs: Firstly that there is a human tendency towards unlimited expansion and secondly that lack of consensus makes limiting growth politically unfeasible. We challenge both of these beliefs. The decline of fertility and per-capita income growth provide reasons to expect decreasing human pressure on ecosystems. Moreover, the lack of a clear alternative to growth as a means to increase well-being creates the widespread perception of a trade-off between sustainability and current well-being. This hinders a consensus on growth-limiting policies. Drawing on the extensive literature on happiness, social capital and other topics, we argue that policies for social capital can decouple well-being from economic growth. Indeed, the crisis of social capital experienced by much of the world’s population is at the origin of the current unsustainable growth of the world economy. Declining social capital leads economies to excessive growth, because people seek economic affluence to compensate for the emotional distress and collective disempowerment caused by poor social capital. Instead, we suggest policies that would expand well-being by promoting social capital and shift the economy to a more sustainable path characterized by slower economic growth. Such a set of proposals is more politically viable than the current agenda of limits to growth and reconciles sustainability and well-being.

We have adapted the organization of Seminars and Conferences in respect of the government health provisions to guarantee strict compliance from all those involved in the academic experience (students, teachers, administrative staff), in an effort to safeguard everyone’s safety.

We invite all to participate.