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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

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» Happiness-oriented policy from Stumbling and Mumbling
Via New Economist come wise words from Andrew Oswald:Happiness, not economic growth, ought to be the next and more sensible target for the next and more sensible generation.This view is increasingly common among economists; for detailed evidence in Sco... [Read More]

» Phil Done on 'Gross National Happiness' from Jennifer Marohasy
Following is a note from Phil Done, a reader and regular commentator at this blog: "A recurrent theme on the blog in the great battles of good versus evil is that that free markets are wonderful efficient mechanisms and economic... [Read More]

Comments

Gabriel Mihalache

Let me air another crazy thought... why not just let people free--stop trying to manage other people's lives--and see who decides to allocate his time for work and who decides to allocate her time for leisure?

The idea that there's one aim for the entire nation, the pet secret assumption of most macro work, seems to me to be out of Stalinist Russia or worse. "You must sacrifice yourself, comrade, for the happiness of our nation! Give up your income so little Timmy can get +3 units of happiness."

As for the envy nullifies growth's advantages point, let's just see how much nullified it is when the "growth" of an AIDS cure will save your life... will you care that Mr. Jones next door got one too?

On the other hand if competing with Mr. Jones is the major aim of one's life, how should we expect for people to stop caring about that? It's like saying that people think too much about sex and they should try to use their minds differently. We can't prevent people from trying to show off.

Lord

If growth doesn't make you happy, just try decay.

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Unhappily the report which details the change in happiness in the U.S. costs $950, so I can't comment on the details. But it would be interesting to see if the decline in happiness correlates with the increase in income disparity over the last few decades.

See:
http://www.tcf.org/Publications/EconomicsInequality/wasow_yachtrc.pdf

The US government does focus on increasing the happiness of its citizens. Not all of them, just the ones in the top income quintile. But of course they're the ones who make campaign contributions.

A recent piece I read indicated that the best thing that many of us could do is to make our commute to work as short as possible. Government policy in terms of land-use, fuel taxes, highway building, and access to public transportation play a huge role in determining urban densities. So perhaps it is the our automobile love affair which is responsible for the drop in american happiness.

http://mitpress.mit.edu/catalog/item/default.asp?ttype=6&tid=14403

Whatever the case, I think policies should be considered in the light of how they maximize the total well-being of the total populace in social, economic, health and even happiness terms. Just looking at the total population would be an improvement over the current situation.

Arthur Eckart

Maximizing utility is maximizing satisfaction, which by definition maximizes happiness (I wonder if people were just as happy during the Great Depression). There's a tradeoff between labor and leisure. If you like your work, money is not important. If you dislike your work, money may offset that somewhat. Economics is far more about aggregate and individual living standards than a narrow generalization of the production side.

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Maximize utility is to maximize satisfaction, that the maximum happiness by definition (I wonder if people were just happy during the Great Depression). There is a balance between labor and leisure. If you like your job, money is not important. If you do not like your job, money may be partly offset it. Economy is far more overall living standards and personal rather than a general of the narrow production. Thesis AND Dissertation AND Essay AND Assignment

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One thing is for sure that one always becomes happy and full of energy when they are done with their own assigned work for themselves and one reason is that humans are creatures of comparison. Research last year showed that happiness levels depend inversely on the earnings levels of a person’s neighbours. Prosperity next door makes you dissatisfied. It is relative income that matters: when everyone in a society gets wealthier, average well-being stays the same.

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what about the sadness? nowadays it is a life mode( see the EMOs)

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There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration. That is a great point to bring up.

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A recent piece I read indicated that the best thing that many of us could do is to make our commute to work as short as possible. Government policy in terms of land-use, fuel taxes, highway building, and access to public transportation play a huge role in determining urban densities. So perhaps it is the our automobile love affair which is responsible for the drop in american happiness.

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