Leading Edge / Summer 2003
Redefining Riches

Theology professor explores why people in countries with struggling economies often seem happier


Those living in the Western World need to be more grateful for what they have if they are to climb out of the spiritual and psychological malaise plaguing the world’s richest societies, says U of T theology professor Mary Jo Leddy. In her new book, Radical Gratitude (Orbis Press), Leddy explores why people in countries with struggling economies often seem happier and more content than their counterparts in financially wealthier nations. She believes that people in the West are the victims of an economic system that generates a profound dissatisfaction with the world, its material benefits and the self. “We are tied to an economic system that delivers wonderful toys while also delivering dissatisfaction; we live in a system that tells us we never, never have enough,” she says. “This message goes a long way to explaining why people living in the wealthiest countries on Earth have such poor self-images.” Leddy says her book is an effort to explain how people can be happier “if only they could experience a radical astonishment at the daily miracle of being alive.”


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