Liberal Arts and Management Program | Senior Seminar - Happiness in Market Society
L416 | 7373 | Aurelian Craiutu


In spite of the fact that citizens of advanced modern democracies
live in free and abundant societies, many of them are unhappy.
Indeed, various studies have documented a rise in the number of
people who declare themselves as unhappy. In this seminar, we shall
examine some of the causes of this phenomenon by concentrating on the
relationship between economics, politics, and happiness. To this
effect, we shall examine a wide array of works in sociology,
economics, political theory, literature, and philosophy. We begin by
asking how we live today and then move on to explore how we ought to
live. The books that we’ll read in this class include David Brook’s
novel Bobos in Paradise, Juliet Schor’s The Overworked American,
Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (Volume Two), Seneca’s
Epistles to Lucillius, Pascal’s Pensées, and selections from
Montaigne’s and Emerson’s Essays, and Michel Houellebecq’s The
Elementary Particles. We shall also watch a few movies that shed
light on our topic: Woody Allen’s Another Woman, Andrei Codrescu’s
Road Scholar, Alexander Payne’s About Schmidt, and The Barbarian
Invasions. The course aims at creating an intellectually stimulating
environment in which the diversity of opinions and lively exchanges
of viewpoints will be encouraged.