Annapolis, MD
Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center
Community Impact Speaker's Series: Happiness for All?
Tue, January 23, 2018 6:00PM to 8:00PM (Eastern)
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Hosted by Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County & Anne Arundel Women Giving Together
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Happiness For All? Unequal Hopes and Lives in Pursuit of the American Dream

Join us as we kick off 2018 with a presentation co-sponsored by the Community Foundation of Anne Arundel County's Community Impact Speaker's Series and Anne Arundel Women Giving Together’s Education Programs!

“Carol Graham uses well-being measures to bring new insights to the divisions that are threatening America. Far from dreaming of a better tomorrow, many Americans, especially white Americans, are deeply pessimistic about their future and the futures of their children. This book brings much to think and to worry about."    —Angus Deaton, Nobel Laureate in Economics.

The Declaration of Independence states that all people are endowed with certain unalienable rights, and that among these is the pursuit of happiness. Carol Graham draws on cutting-edge research linking income inequality with well-being to show how the widening prosperity gap has led to rising inequality in people’s beliefs, hopes, and aspirations.

The high costs of being poor are most evident not in material deprivation but rather in stress, insecurity, and lack of hope. The result is an optimism gap between rich and poor that, if left unchecked, could lead to an increasingly divided society.  

Graham reveals how people who do not believe in their own futures are unlikely to invest in them, and how the consequences can range from job instability and poor education to greater mortality rates, failed marriages, and higher rates of incarceration. She describes how the optimism gap is reflected in the very words people use—the wealthy use words that reflect knowledge acquisition and healthy behaviors, while the words of the poor reflect desperation, short-term outlooks, and patchwork solutions. She also explains why the least optimistic people in America are poor whites, not poor blacks or Hispanics. She shows the importance of well-being measures in identifying and monitoring trends in life satisfaction and opti­mism—and misery and despair—and demonstrateshow hope and happiness can lead to improved economic outcomes.

Carol Graham is the Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow at the Brook­ings Institution and College Park Professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy. Her books include The Pursuit of Happiness: An Economy of Well-Being and Happiness around the World: The Paradox of Happy Peasants and Miserable Millionaires.

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