Local Futures believes that modern societies have taken a fundamentally wrong turn: policymakers, mainstream economists, and business leaders have consistently pushed us in the direction of ever more growth, while ignoring the ecological destruction and spiritual poverty that have been the price of rampant consumerism, massive scale, and escalating speed. We believe that a radically different paradigm is needed. Rather than attempting to solve every problem by ‘growing the economy’, we need to focus instead on meeting real human and ecological needs through awakening to our spiritual ties to community and nature – through an ‘economics of happiness’.
This program has two major components:
• An award-winning documentary film, The Economics of Happiness, which spells out the social, spiritual, and ecological costs of today’s global economy. Importantly, the film also highlights the many benefits of a shift towards the local, and showcases some of the steps people are already taking worldwide.
• An ongoing series of international Economics of Happiness conferences. In each of these conferences, internationally-recognized leaders from the localization movement come together with local thinkers and activists for several days of plenary talks, panel discussions and workshops on the global-to-local theme. Local Futures organized the first of these events in Berkeley, California, USA in 2012, the second in Byron Bay, Australia in 2013, the third in Bangalore, India in 2014, and the fourth in Portland, Oregon, USA in February 2015 with two additional 2015 conferences in Jeonju, South Korea and Castlemaine, Australia. We also organized Voice of Hope in a Time of Crisis, a one day event in New York in 2014. To watch videos of the talks, see the lists of speakers, programs and photos, see the conferences’ webpages pages. In 2016 we are planning two international Economics of Happiness conferences in Europe. To receive updates about these events, sign up for our email newsletter.