The Economics of Happiness

Thursday, April 22, 2010, 6:30pm - 8:00pm

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The 2010 Jack & Lewis Rudin–Charles E. Schaffner Lecture: The Economics of Happiness

Helena Norberg-Hodge, Alternative Nobel Prize winner and pioneer of the worldwide localization movement, argues that the policies being implemented to deal with today’s economic turmoil will only temporarily shore up a global system that is fundamentally unstable and incapable of meeting the needs of people and the planet. Her talk will highlight the inspiring psychological, social, and ecological benefits of economic localization, and the steps – at the community, national, and international levels – that can bring us there. 

Her presentation will include scenes from the rough cut of her new documentary film, The Economics of Happiness, which will be released later this year.

Helena Norberg-Hodge is a leading analyst of the impact of the global economy on culture, agriculture, and individual identity. In 1975 she was one of the first Westerners to visit Ladakh, or Little Tibet, where she witnessed the psychological, as well as ecological impacts of the global consumer culture on once thriving and sustainable communities. Since then she has worked to strengthen cultural identity, community and local food economies in numerous cultures worldwide, from the indigenous to the most industrialized. Her book and film, Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh, have together been translated into over forty languages. 

Norberg-Hodge is director of The International Society for Ecology and Culture (ISEC), and is a co-founder of both the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) and the Global Eco-village Network.  She is also a member of the International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture, and on the editorial board of The Ecologist magazine.

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  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.