Umair Haque is Director of Havas Media Labs and author of Betterness: Economics for Humans and The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business. He is ranked one of the world’s most influential management thinkers by Thinkers50. Follow him on twitter @umairh.
How would you define a good life? It’s a bafflingly tough question. An even tougher one: does the economy we have today value such a life? Does it help us create one?
Here’s what I see when I look not just at the surface, but deep inside the heart of the economy today:
Instead of an “energy industry,” I see a resource addiction that saps
money and preserves self-destructive expectations. I see, instead of
food and education “industries,” an obesity epidemic and a debt-driven
education crisis. Instead of a pharmaceutical industry, I see a new set
of mental and physical discontents, like rates of suspiciously normally
“abnormal” mental illnesses and drugs whose lists of “side effects” are
longer than the Magna Carta. Instead of a “media industry,” I see news that actually misinforms instead of enlightening – rusting the beams of democracy – and entertainment that merely titillates.
In short, I see an outcomes gap: a yawning chasm the size of the Grand Canyon between what our economy produces and what you might call a meaningfully well-lived life, what the ancient Greeks called eudaimonia...