Public Happiness System

Friday afternoon at the Sustainable Summer School 2012, workshop “Rediscovering Happiness”. One night time till the presentations of the students’ tasks. Anke Bernotat from Folkwang University of Arts in Essen/Germany and Gwendolyn Kulick from Beaconhouse National University in Lahore/Pakistan have invited me to discuss with 10 students from 11 countries (most of them are living outside their home country). Luiza Barroso, a Brazilian working at the French National Design Centre, and Min-Chu Tung from Taiwan studying in Lund are telling something very interesting.

Their idea is not quite ready yet but they are suggesting some kind of public happiness system.

–       We have public health systems, public education systems, public transport systems – but why don’t we have public happiness systems ensuring our happiness, Luiza states.

–       Great idea! How would you organize it? Could it be preventative or supportive (like our education systems try to be) instead of being only reactive and curing (like our health systems usually are)?

The students have not planned all details yet. I’m becoming enthusiastic anyway. Imagine if we had a ministry of happiness, an administration of happiness, a budget for happiness, indicators for happiness – and happiness just could be an issue of public (and private) concern? Could we have companies driving happiness just as we have more and more companies are driving sustainability?

Or should we just try to establish happiness without a new sector of administration, but still “taking happiness seriously”? Or would that be the same endless discussion as about sustainability?

I’m really looking forward to the presentation of all these great ideas tomorrow – and happy to be part of this Sustainable Summer School.