Well-being is more than a side-show to neoliberal economics

Christine Berry
Basket of fluffy animals

Well-being is not just a luxury for good economic times. Reducing poverty and promoting equality are more important goals than simply increasing the size of the economy. To this end, new data shows that stability is better than growth.

You can’t bounce off the walls if there are no walls: outdoor schools make children happier and smarter

David Sobel

Child smelling sunflowerNew approaches to kindergarten offer children a potentially transformative experience of education in nature - an antidote to rote-learning and a much better preparation for an integrated life.

On beauty: Special K adverts, body dysmorphic disorder, and Lupita Nyong'o

Georgia Coles-Riley

AlonenessNone of us can escape from the vicious reality of our cultural obsession with 'beauty', but I was lucky to survive my body dysmorphic disorder. This is the sixth article in our politics of mental health series. Content warning: suicide attempt, self harm.

Have they healed yet? Western dreams about Rwanda.

Shattered societies cannot be mended with pills or analysis or technology or foreign aid. Our need to hear that Rwanda is ‘healing’ tells us more about ourselves than it does about Rwanda.

Well-being is more than a side-show to neoliberal economics

Well-being is not just a luxury for good economic times. Reducing poverty and promoting equality are more important goals than simply increasing the size of the economy. To this end, new data shows that stability is better than growth.

You can’t bounce off the walls if there are no walls: outdoor schools make children happier and smarter

New approaches to kindergarten offer children a potentially transformative experience of education in nature - an antidote to rote-learning and a much better preparation for an integrated life. 

On beauty: Special K adverts, body dysmorphic disorder, and Lupita Nyong'o

None of us can escape from the vicious reality of our cultural obsession with 'beauty', but I was lucky to survive my body dysmorphic disorder. This is the sixth article in our politics of mental health series. Content warning: suicide attempt, self harm.

Social change in Shoprite, aisle 5

Millions of Americans use supplemental food benefits each month. Along with the stigma of holding up the supermarket checkout line comes a large helping of empathy with other people.

The selective awareness of Wisdom 2.0

Take an ancient practice, remove it from its context, strip away its ethical imperatives and sell it for a profit. Is the goal of the corporate mindfulness movement to comfort the already comfortable? 

Can philanthropic oligarchy nurture economic justice?

Will NGOs and foundations ever be able to look at their moneyed benefactors and challenge how they generated their wealth? The national correspondent of NonProfit Quarterly takes on our series on the role of money in the transformation of society. 

Activists talk mental health

A feminist, a squatter, an environmentalist and a human rights activist speak: how does taking action affect mental health? This is the fifth article in Transformation's politics of mental health series.

Did Socrates die in vain? Rescuing education from school

Are school children educated, socialized, or indoctrinated?  If there’s any wonder remaining in a student after being swamped with established knowledge throughout the day, she or he would have to pursue critical thinking in the evenings.

To survive bipolar disorder, I needed people who didn't love me

There is a unique hope in a stranger's kindness. Despite my catatonic state, despite barely recognising the people I loved, I knew that a society with a system that cares the way the NHS does, is somewhere I could learn to live. This is the fourth article in our politics of mental health series. Content warning.

Why green growth won’t transform the economy

Green growth is a myth. Because it ignores the social, political and personal dimensions of sustainability, it can never cut deep enough into the structures of self and society to secure solutions to the crises that we face.

Politics as therapy: they want us to be just sick enough not to fight back

I used to be outgoing, but a descent into crushing depression meant I was unable to talk to people or leave the house. After Occupy I started to ask: how does social environment shape our psychology? This is the third article in Transformation's politics of mental health series. Content warning.

The unspoken atrocity of standardized education

As the corporate takeover of public education proceeds in the US and other countries, schools cease to be training grounds for social transformation. We are not just fighting for our children, but for the liberation of our country. 

Feminism helped me survive a forced marriage

I have Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of fleeing a forced marriage a decade ago. Writing and feminist activism helped me find a space for survival. This is the second article in Transformation's series on the politics of mental health.

Mental health: why we're all sick under neoliberalism

We don't understand mental health, allocating the label only to those who are struggling. So good mental health, and its political causes, become invisible. An introduction to Transformation's new series on the politics of mental health. Content warning: anxiety, suicidal thoughts.

The Religion of the Future

How can we organize a society that gives us a better chance to be fully alive? How can we reinvent religion so that it liberates us instead of consoling us? A new book provides some answers.

It’s time to put money out of its misery

Money talks, but what language is it speaking? New ideas and experiments could reposition money as a source of social justice as well as personal fulfillment. This is the final article in our series on the role of money in the transformation of society.

Philanthropic power erosion: the Edge Fund alternative

When power and privilege are acknowledged and addressed, decisions over funding can unite people instead of dividing them. This is the ninth article in our series on the role of money in the transformation of society.

The Labour Party's real challenge is finding a radical voice

Will the UK Labour Party ever really, vocally resist Conservative policies? They should be engaging young voters on global social inequality.

Uganda's 'Kill the Gays' bill: Pastor Martin Ssempa and the anti-gay lobby

You can now be imprisoned for life under Uganda's anti-homosexual law. It was pushed through by religious pastors, whose moralising arm-twisting has silenced moderate voices. If you disagree with them, you may face blackmail.

Organizations as communities: lessons from Deir Mar Musa in Syria

Successful communities welcome disagreement and approach conflict constructively. Maybe the 21st century is the time to think about all organizations as communities, and to see where this radical change in direction might take us. 

“Nuestra Escuela:” bringing love and creativity back into education

Traditional schooling has been wreaking havoc on individuals and communities for 200 years. It’s time to replace it with a new system of self-designed and community-supported webs of learning.

Demand homes not jails: queer homelessness is being criminalized

Cities globally are starting to criminalize homelessness: banning begging and making free food provision illegal. I work within LGBTQ communities, whose multiple oppressions lead to a high level of homelessness. When I see police disrupting rough sleepers, I remember their life stories.

Nothing about us, without us: reversing the power dynamics of philanthropy

If money is power, then control over money has to be democratized. What if grants to social movements of sex workers were distributed by sex workers themselves? This is the eighth article in our series on money and social transformation.

Unlocking the transformative potential of storytelling

When people connect to political issues through personal stories, they see them in a different way. They don’t just see democracy in the abstract, they see ‘my democracy.’ The transformative potential of storytelling is written into the fabric of our lives.

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