Well-being: the story so far

What leads to well-being? It’s one of the oldest philosophical questions, mused over by Aristotle, Plato, Seneca and others, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that academics have also, for a long time, tried to find some answers through scientific investigation. More

Can the Big Society cut it in an age of austerity?

At a time when massive public spending cuts are heralding the effective retreat of the state, people, communities and the third sector are expected to step in and fill the gaps that are inevitably opening up and widening. This, in essence, is the Big Society; a call to arms for active citizens and locally based organisations to build better communities; the social policy that makes the Government’s economic policies politically palatable.

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Well-being takes the global stage

Yesterday, the United Nations hosted a high level meeting on happiness and well-being. Initiated and led by the Government of Bhutan, the meeting was attended by more than 600 people from all over the world, including UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, experts from the fields of well-being, economics, psychology and sustainability (including Nobel Prize Winner Joseph Stiglitz), senior Government officials and politicians, and the Dalai Lama. More

The New Austerity and the Big Society

This week we are launching the interim findings of a major project we started in September: it is the New Austerity and the Big Society, a 24 month action learning project that asks three big questions.

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Time is running out for clone towns

A victory for NEF's seven-year campaign against clone towns More

Why aren’t we preventing harm?

For William Beveridge in 1942, there were ‘five giants’ to be vanquished by the post-war welfare state: want, idleness, disease, ignorance and squalor. He imagined that the costs to the state would diminish over time because the system would progressively prevent these ills. What has come of his vision? Where is the society which prevents harm, rather than just dealing with its consequences?

As the saying goes, ‘If you think prevention is expensive, try paying for the cure.’ Too often cure is our only focus, and we are indeed paying the price.

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Farewell to unlikely friends – the Regional Development Agencies

You might not have noticed, but on Friday, very quietly, something quite significant in the UK governmental structure has slipped out of existence. The nine Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), eight of which cranked into action on the 1st April 1999, have now disappeared. Try to go to the website of the East Midlands Development Agency, or Yorkshire Forward, and you will be redirected to BIS (the central government department they used to report to). So I won’t bother hyperlinking in this instance…

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Cameras and diversity in court: more than a confidence game?

Two separate developments this week concerning the court system in England and Wales were connected through markedly similar justifications.

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The Happy Planet Index asks a new sort of question

Lara Hoffmans, writing in Forbes, has been casting a sceptical eye over our Happy Planet Index (HPI), under a wonderfully titled article ‘Give Me Tacocopter Or Give Me Death!’­. More

A return to recession

And we’re back in recession. Not that most of us would have noticed anything like a preceding recovery: real incomes fell by 1.2 per cent over the last year, the steepest decline since 1977, coming on top of consecutive years of falling living standards. Unemployment, meanwhile, remains the highest for a almost two decadesMore

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