CCRI’s Professor of Social Economy, Paul Courtney, presented his inaugural lecture at the University of Gloucestershire’s Park Campus on Wednesday 18 June 2014. The lecture was entitled ‘Value, Impact and Happiness: A socio-economic perspective’.
About the lecture
Understanding the relationship between the economy and society has been a core theme of Paul’s work throughout the course of his career, which began with investigating the function of market towns in the contemporary rural economy.
Through exploring the reasons for differential economic performance, Paul then highlighted the importance of social relations in shaping the fortunes of local economies which were able to build strong communities whilst reaching out to global markets.
An emphasis on social aspects of the economy has necessarily led to the application of novel approaches to understand the dynamics of human economic activity. In recent years this has evolved to encompass broader concepts of economic value and the role that psychology can play in helping to understand socio-economic choices.
This lecture explained how a focus on socio-economic impact has evolved into an interest in social value and social return, and how this has uncovered the potential for Happiness to serve as a useful lens through which many of today’s societal challenges might be addressed. Through an overview of research into the social value being generated by the community and voluntary sector, Paul explained the potential benefits of shifting from conventional economic thinking to a broader socio-economic perspective which has human happiness as a central goal.
Interestingly, the topic of ‘happiness’ was recently discussed on BBC Radio 4, ‘Call You and Yours: What makes us Happy?’