Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Film review: The Economics of Happiness

The Economics of Happiness is a film with a very passionate message about the importance of localizing economic activity in order to reduce our environmental footprints and enrich the human spirit. It was created by Helena Norgberg-Hodge and her organisation the International Society for Ecology and Culture, who have been working in the field of localization for over three decades.

A number of renowned thinkers are interviewed throughout the film including: Bill McKibben, David Korten, Vandana Shiva, Richard Heinberg, Andrew Simms and U.K. member of parliament Zac Goldsmith, among others. These interviews show the diversity of the support behind the movement for local economies and give detailed insights into the different issues faced by local communities in a globalized world.

The film divided into two main parts: an emotive analysis of the negative effects of globalisation and an urge to localize politics, economics and even the human spirit. These messages are shown through a case study on Ladakh, a region in northern India known as “Little Tibet” which Norgberg-Hodge has been studying over the past 35 years. Ladakh was once a self-sufficient community with zero unemployment, an abundance of natural resources and a rich vibrant culture. In recent years the introduction of subsidized fuel, food and infrastructure has undermined the local economy- the film shows transformation of what was an idyllic community turn into impoverished, unhappy and unsustainable society. Norgberg-Hodge says the "story of Ladakh can shed light on the root causes of the crises now facing the planet."

The film is engaging and uses a lot of personal accounts and emotive imagery to argue the case for localization. See trailer:

For more detail- see the Economics of Happiness website.

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