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Do Possessions Make Us Happy?

Rana Mitter joins a panel and an audience for the 2010 Free Thinking festival to ask: do possessions make us happy? With novelist Sarah Dunant and religious writer Sara Maitland.

Presenter Rana Mitter joins a panel and an audience at Radio 3's Free Thinking festival to debate the question: Do Possessions Make Us Happy?

To many the answer seems obvious: Owning things makes millions of people happy, whether it's shoes, smart cars or new houses. So why do critics say that worldly goods are just a recipe for envy and disappointment? Environmentalists believe that we need to make sparer use of our earthly resources. Faith leaders think that we need to avoid excessive attachment to worldly goods. But can our society - even in hard times - ever overcome the undeniable pleasures of purchase and possession?

To argue over the merits of materialism are Sarah Dunant, international best-selling author of Renaissance thrillers; plastic surgeon Paul Baguley who carries out cosmetic surgery across the North East; psychotherapist Jan McGregor Hepburn, a specialist in guilt; and religious writer Sara Maitland, author of "The Book of Silence".

"The Pursuit of Happiness" is the central theme of this year's BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking 2010 (5-7 November) and this programme is recorded at The Sage Gateshead as part of the festival.

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45 minutes

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Free Thinking

Free Thinking

Radio 3’s new home for arts and ideas.