In the name of Allah the Merciful

The Power of Hope: How the Science of Well-Being Can Save Us from Despair

Carol Graham, 0691233438, 9780691233437, 978-0691233437

English | 2023 | PDF

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Why hope matters as a metric of economic and social well-being

In  a society marked by extreme inequality of income and opportunity, why  should economists care about how people feel? The truth is that feelings  of well-being are critical metrics that predict future life outcomes.  In this timely and innovative account, economist Carol Graham argues for  the importance of hope―little studied in economics at present―as an  independent dimension of well-being. Given America’s current mental  health crisis, thrown into stark relief by COVID, hope may be the most  important measure of well-being, and researchers are tracking trends in  hope as a key factor in understanding the rising numbers of “deaths of  despair” and premature mortality.

Graham, an authority on the  study of well-being, points to empirical evidence demonstrating that  hope can improve people’s life outcomes and that despair can destroy  them. These findings, she argues, merit deeper exploration. Graham  discusses the potential of novel well-being metrics as tracking  indicators of despair, reports on new surveys of hope among low-income  adolescents, and considers the implications of the results for the  futures of these young adults.

Graham asks how and why the  wealthiest country in the world has such despair. What are we missing?  She argues that public policy problems―from joblessness and labor force  dropout to the lack of affordable health care and inadequate public  education―can’t be solved without hope. Drawing on research in  well-being and other disciplines, Graham describes strategies for  restoring hope in populations where it has been lost. The need to  address despair, and to restore hope, is critical to America’s future.