Compulsory well-being: An interview with Will Davies


Happiness when of longer duration becomes normal and it becomes then just the lack of unhappiness. Moments of happiness should be exceptional to maintain their quality. If not the standard of ‘happiness’ need to be risen all the time leading to in the end total unhappiness since there is a limit. Drugs will help for a while. What helps best is to just accept just not being unhappy is the normal state of being. Saves a lot of money on ineffective soft sciences such as psychology.

Mind Hacks

The UK government’s use of psychology has suddenly become controversial. They have promised to put psychologists into job centres “to provide integrated employment and mental health support to claimants with common mental health conditions” but with the potential threat of having assistance removed if people do not attend treatment.

It has been criticised as ‘treating unemployment as a mental problem’ or an attempt to ‘psychologically reprogramme the unemployed’ and has triggered an upcoming march on a London job centre.

Will Davies is a political scientist and the author of the new bookThe Happiness Industry that looks at the history and practice of positive psychology as government and ‘well-being’ as a way of managing people.

We caught up with him to get some background on the recent controversy.

Is this use of psychology in social policy a quick fix or part of a broader trend?

There is a long history…

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