Growth, happiness and wellbeing: what are we trying to achieve?
Economic growth is assumed to be good for human wellbeing; and the case made for free markets is often that they will maximize growth. But recent research into determinants of human happiness questions whether growth should be the objective; and free markets in finance have clearly not delivered even the growth benefits promised. Adair Turner’s lecture will explore what economics can tell us both about desirable social objectives and about the means by which we pursue them. It will argue that while growth itself is not the primary objective, it is a likely result of other desirable aims, such as economic freedom. That alternative justification has, however, profound implications for important aspects of public policy.