Improving the people’s lot? Different conceptions of well-being between promises and reality

29.-30.07.2014, Workshop mit anschließender Podiumsdiskussion, DIJ Tokyo

International Workshop of the DIJ Tokyo, supported by the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation. The concluding panel discussion will be open to the public (30.07.2014).

More than four decades ago, Richard Easterlin observed the famous paradox that more economic growth does not lead to further increases in subjective well-being. Since the formulation of the Easterlin paradox, it has become common knowledge that material wealth alone does not make people happy. What does make people happy? What should governments and societies do to further the quest for happiness? These questions are still hotly debated by scholars, at the United Nations and in many government commissions.

These discussions happen against the backdrop of the declining influence of ideologies, political parties, unions or churches in today’s highly diversified societies. Therefore, it is worth examining how political organizations, ideologies and religions have promised to improve the well-being of individuals and how these promises and the policies derived thereof, are perceived by the people.

This DIJ event brings together five distinguished experts to discuss well-being between promise and reality.



  • Helen Hardacre (Harvard University)
  • Axel Klein (University of Duisburg-Essen; Moderator)
  • Takayoshi Kusago (Kansai University)
  • Kenneth Mori McElwain (University of Michigan)
  • Benjamin Radcliff (University of Notre Dame)


The event will be held in English. It will take place on Wednesday, July 30th 2014 at 6.30 the DIJ.

Admission is free but please register by email with:



Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Jochi Kioizaka Bldg. 2F

7-1 Kioicho, Chiyoda-ku

Tokyo 102-0094,

Japan Tel: 03 - 3222 5198, Fax: 03 - 3222 5420