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Wellbeing: A Complete Reference Guide, Volume V, Economics of Wellbeing by Cary L. Cooper, David McDaid

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1

Introduction

David McDaid

London School of Economics and Political Science, U.K.

Cary L. Cooper

Lancaster University, U.K.

This volume reflects on different perspectives on the economic aspects of wellbeing. Debates and discussions on how we both measure the progress of society and understand what we as human beings value the most in our lives are nothing new. We have pondered these questions since the very dawn of time, but with comparatively little discussion of the interaction between economics and wellbeing until the latter half of the twentieth century.

The approach to economics set out by the Scottish philosopher and economist Adam Smith in The wealth of nations set the tone for much of the discourse on economics over the next two centuries (Smith, 1776/1977). Progress in society would be best achieved through economic growth brought about by ever more efficient production processes, with free and open markets governing the supply and demand for goods and services. The population would maximize their satisfaction and enjoyment of life in such a society. Dissenting views using alternative ways of organizing the means of production and distributing resources, most notably those based on of some of the ideas first set out in Das Kapital (Marx, 1867), were often seen to be failed experiments that caused stagnant levels of economic growth and were mainly used by authoritarian regimes, which entailed the restriction of many individual freedoms.

As Laura Stoll illustrates in her ...

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