Book Review-The Politics and Policy of Wellbeing: Understanding the Rise and Significance of a New Agenda, by Ian Bache and Louise Reardon
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Bache and Reardon’s exploration of wellbeing as a concept and an area of policy focus utilises data from several projects to address two central questions: “How and why has the idea of wellbeing risen up the political agenda?” and “What are the policy implications of the rising political interest in the idea of wellbeing” (pg. 4). The authors focus on the rise of wellbeing as a concept principally in the UK and EU, but do however make reference to its development in other countries (Australia, Bhutan and France). They concentrate on the UK as they argue it has been a vanguard in terms of government action on wellbeing (and yet as they explore later in the book, ‘third order’ [Hall 1993] policy change has yet to be achieved).
The volume begins with a good introduction which sets out the context for the book and the subsequent chapters. The authors make an eloquent case with the help of some quotes from Robert Kennedy against the use of GDP/ GNP as indicators of societal progress. They...
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