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Economic Growth, Happiness and Socialism: Durkheim’s Critique of Economic Reason and Beyond

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The paper argues that Durkheim’s positions on happiness and socialism are relevant in today’s neoliberal and post-affluent societies. Durkheim dissociates happiness from economic progress and makes it contingent upon the relationships between the individual and society. An important component of Durkheimian happiness is the dynamic equilibrium between desires and means. Therefore, his friendly criticism of the socialist project is that it promises to fulfil the desires that were released by a disembedded market economy. Durkheim’s point helps us to understand why the social democratic promise was broken and how the neoliberal imperatives of competition and unlimited wants sow unhappiness.
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Keywords: Durkheim; happiness; neoliberalism; social democracy; socialism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Financial and Management Engineering, University of the Aegean, Chios, Greece

Publication date: September 3, 2019

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