Governments and politicians have enormous influence over our lives, yet around the world there has been a marked reduction of trust in both, leading to polarisation and a decline in democratic institutions and values. How can we restore trust, make the political process more effective for citizens and at the same time enhance citizen’s wellbeing? In this chapter we consider why politics is important for wellbeing, why wellbeing research can make a difference to politics and the way it is conducted, and how politics could be changed for the better if positive psychology principles were adopted. We end the chapter by considering the role that governments, communities and individuals might play in creating more a positive political process and system.

1: From Moral to Market Sentiments
2. From Credit Crisis to Resilience
3. From Covid Crisis to Renaissance
4. From Climate Crisis to Real Prosperity

How did we get to here?
Where do we want to be?

For a comprehensive examination of some of the issues here – and an interesting analysis of how conservative, liberal and socialist thinkers view these ideas – see: 
Frank Stilwell (2019) The Political Economy of Inequality. Polity Press

“But when the leaders choose to make themselves bidders at an auction of popularity, their talents, in the construction of the state, will be of no service. They will become flatterers instead of legislators; the instruments, not the guides, of the people. If any of them should happen to propose a scheme of liberty, soberly limited, and defined with proper qualifications, he will be immediately outbid by his competitors, who will produce something more splendidly popular. Suspicions will be raised of his fidelity to his cause. Moderation will be stigmatized as the virtue of cowards; and compromise as the prudence of traitors; until, in hopes of preserving the credit which may enable him to temper, and moderate, on some occasions, the popular leader is obliged to become active in propagating doctrines, and establishing powers, that will afterwards defeat any sober purpose at which he ultimately might have aimed.”
― Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France

Barack Obama (2004) Keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, recorded by the New York Times, on 27th July 2004

Why is politics important for wellbeing?

Some political systems are more conducive to flourishing

How can politics promote wellbeing?

How can wellbeing promote better politics?

Positive political communication

Grassroots politics

Making change happen

  • Jaideep Prabhu (2021). How should a government be? The new levers of state power. Profile Books

Changing the voting system

Involving citizens in policy and decision-making

People powered change