Futilitarianism - Extreme Pessimists

Futilitarianism & Extreme Pessimists: Laurie Taylor talks to Neil Vallelly, Researcher at Economic and Social Research Aotearoa (ESRA) at the University of Otago, New Zealand about a new study which argues that the current moment is characterised by feelings of futility and uselessness. If maximising utility leads to the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people, as utilitarianism has always proposed, then why is it that as many of us currently maximise our utility—by working endlessly, undertaking further education and relentlessly marketing ourselves—we are met with the steady worsening of collective social and economic conditions? They're joined by Monika Mühlböck, Visiting Professor in Political Science at the University of Vienna whose research finds that expected downward mobility is impacting the political attitudes & voting behaviour of young people. Drawing on data from a survey among young adults aged 18–35 in eleven European countries, she asks to what extent that young adults who expect to do worse than their parents in the future are more likely to locate themselves at the extreme ends of the ideological scale.

Producer: Jayne Egerton