by Frank Furedi

Politi­cians, educa­tors, celebri­ties and cultural entre­pre­neurs frequently insist that happi­ness is the solu­tion to our prob­lems and that we have a respon­si­bility to be happy. The BBC’s new six-part series, The Happi­ness Formula, which began last week, is yet another contri­bu­tion to the promo­tion of the happi­ness crusade.

Poli­cies that are designed to make us happy have little to do with a genuine emotional response to our expe­ri­ence. They attempt to persuade the public to think posi­tively and adopt forms of behav­iour deemed appro­priate by enlight­ened “experts”. Like Happy Meals, happi­ness has been turned into an easily digestible formula that can be taught by teachers, learned by the masses and managed by policy makers.

Frank Furedi is professor of soci­ology at the Univer­sity of Kent and author of Poli­tics of Fear; Beyond Left and Right, published by Continuum.

Read the article in The Daily Tele­graph, May 7, 2006.