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5.0 out of 5 stars
essential reading for wonks, 15 Jan 2010
If you are an addict of the recent outpourings of the happiness gurus (Layard, Oswald et al) and the behavioural economists, but wondered how their findings might translate into practical policies, this book takes the key next step. Written by ex-Prime Minister's Strategy Unit Chief Analyst, David Halpern - but of interest to future governments of any persuasion, this book takes a look behind conventional policy appraoches to look at the things that really make somewhere a place worth living. Conventional economics has no place for trust or relationships - the Hidden Wealth of the title, and little place for unremunerated transactions - Halpenr's economy of regard rather than of money. But by missing these key dimensions out of policy making ( taking the Treasiry's narrow account of what matters as the only game in town) policy-makers deliver solutions that don't work in the real waorld and miss opportunities to go with the grain of human nature and offer more effective ways of advnacing wellebing. The book also delves into what we really mean by equality - goign well beyond the standard focus solely on income inequalities and offers some interesting ideas for how to tackle one of the perpetual weakspots of the British economy and British Society.
At the end David Halpern comes up with a list of ten things he would do if he were Prime Minister. An interesting benchmark for the manifestos that will start popping up in a few month's time. Read it now to be able to be part of that debate.