[Deep Thought Series] Building altruism, happiness, and trust in a market-based world

  • 06/07/2023
  • 6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
  • Full Circle House, 89 Ch. de Vleurgat, 1050 Ixelles


Building altruism, happiness and trust in a market-based world

A series of conversations on stuff that matters
hosted by Andreea Petre-Goncalves

 Deep Thought  / Thurs 6th July / 6.30 - 8:30 PM

Andreea explores the irresistible transactional logic of capitalism, which shapes the world as a market place in which things for sale compete for our attention, our commitment, our resources. We ourselves are human brands, advertising our strengths, showcasing our success. We find our niche, we seek out ways to monetise our gifts, in competition with everybody else. We’re encouraged to believe that behaving in any other way is foolish. In this transactional reality, with all of us selling something all of the time, it’s easy to question each other’s motives. We are reaping a dissipation of trust, at all levels. The polarisation of politics, instability in global affairs and rise in conspiracy theories suggest this is something we should be taking seriously.

So is our own happiness. We’re swimming in a collective malaise of hopelessness, depression, anxiety and overwhelm, for which our only available responses are individual. Yet our despair is collective, and a rational response to a deterioration of society, peace, prosperity and planet. We’d need a lot of hilarious memes and mindfulness tips to take that well.

Things don’t have to be like this. Most of us yearn for something altogether kinder, that puts collective interests over our smallest instincts. Closet nice people explores ways in which we can turn the tide, weave a new societal narrative that rewards altruism, re-build the bonds of trust between us and deeply reset our systems to avoid descent into a spiral of global insecurity.



Andreea was 8 years old when totalitarian Communism collapsed overnight in her native Romania. She saw then how quickly yesterday’s absolute truth can become tomorrow reviled atrocity. She knows that societal narratives can shift fast, and when they do, they make deep system re-set possible.

For two decades she worked for international development, human rights, health and sustainability in the EU institutions and international NGOs. In 2019 she set up Flare, a Brussels-based think-and-do tank that experiments with practical ways of shifting the collective ideas we hold of what is normal and desirable. This work builds on 15 years of her researching and writing about societal narrative shifts. She is a BMW Foundation Responsible Leader and a member of Global Diplomacy Lab.

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