Sunday, March 18, 2007

the great issue of the 21st century

I recently bought a book on happiness by Richard Layard. I'm not expecting to enjoy it, but I'll probably get round to reading it someday.

He's one of the intellectuals that Prospect asked this question, "Left and right defined the 20th century. What's next?" Here's his answer(you have to scroll way down):
The great issue for the 21st century will be materialism vs quality of life. Those who want priority for economic progress will be pitched against those who focus more strongly on the quality of life that people experience. Both left and right will be divided on this issue. This division will occur in most of the main policy debates: materialism will favour higher migration; quality of life will favour lower migration. Materialism will favour financial incentives and low job security; quality of life will favour the reverse. Materialism will favour little regulation of gambling on advertising; quality of life will favour more. Materialism will favour education for success; quality of life will favour the education of character. Materialism will focus less on mental illness; quality of life will focus on it more. Materialism will focus on the cost of averting climate change; quality of life will focus on the implications of not averting it. Eventually, the quality of life will win out.

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