Five ways to well-being, and other tales

In Five Ways to Well-being, we reviewed the empirical evidence collected by Foresight from hundreds of research studies across the world. The outcome is a set of five different kinds of daily activity that, according to the latest and best evidence available, promote well-being and help to buffer against mental health difficulties.

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Blame the system

It was especially interesting to hear how John Humphrys went straight for the five ways when interviewing Professor John Beddington on Today this morning. Humphrys claimed that our suggestions were a bit obvious and Pollyannaish, and the fact that people weren't already doing them meant that they had somehow "chosen" not to.

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Our debt-fuelled economy has left us ill-equipped to weather the storm

It was not so long ago that Gordon Brown claimed to have abolished 'boom and bust'. As we enter what everyone now thinks will be a deep and prolonged recession this claim is looking - being as generous as possible - a little over optimistic.

The government is keen to stress that the current crisis was not 'made in the UK', and it is certainly true that this is now a global crisis that no country can insulate itself from completely.

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Green New Deal Round-Up

After UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon echoed UNEP's call for a Green New Deal, several prominent politicians, including Gordon Brown and US presidential hopeful Barack Obama, have taken an interest. More

More credit card worries

Further to last week's post about credit card debt, here's an interesting nugget from the British Psychological Society's research digest.

Hundreds of participants were given a credit-card bill with an outstanding balance of £435.76 and asked how much they could afford to pay off, given their real-life finances. Crucially, half the participants were shown what the minimum compulsory payment was and half weren't.

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Local resilience is the key to well-being

In the name of "modernisation", the government has insisted on competitive commissioning, a narrow focus on financial efficiency savings, and investment through the private finance initiative (PFI) that builds up long-term debts. It has shown a strong preference for large, aggregated contracts. In other words, public services have been subject to the same blind faith in market forces as the rest of the economy.

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Blaming the poor while bailing out the banks

As the financial crisis continues to unfold, one myth keeps getting repeated: the crisis was caused by poor people defaulting on sub-prime loans. In short, if only they hadn't been so feckless then the great edifice of sub-prime debt need not have brought the financial system crashing down upon us. This isn't just wrong, it's dangerous and wrong.

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Complacent…or just desperate for good news?

Results may not have been as bad as expected but still made for dismal reading in last week's OECD report on inequality. At a time when the rewards of the rich are being called sharply into question, the UK still has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the developed world and social mobility is static. The rate at which inequality has widened is slowing, which is not the same as the gap narrowing. More

History repeats: IMF bail outs

The IMF bail-out packages for Iceland, Hungary and the Ukraine provoke more than a little d'ej`a vu.

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Paradigm reclaimed: why a finance system that’s fit for purpose must be built on new economic princi

The predictable crisis in the global system is the most important sign yet that a new economics is emerging. The tragedy is that the crisis-ridden financial system has long since failed to do the basic job required - to underpin the productive economy, and the fundamental operating systems upon which we all depend. These have been variously neglected, taken for granted or cannibalised by finance. More

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