Saturday, July 01, 2006

Of happiness and/or wealth

Here's another reason to support my thesis that happiness and income-level/wealth does NOT necessarily go together.
Economist Alan Krueger and psychologist and Nobel laureate in economics Daniel Kahneman have found, using a newly developed analytical technique, that people with above-average incomes do not necessarily spend more time doing things they enjoy.
And what do they enjoy?
People, regardless of their income, are happier when they're socializing than when they're doing work around the house. They're happier when they're doing active leisure-type activities than when they're watching TV.
This may correlate to the condition that high income-earners face: they have to work longer hours than their lower-income counterparts.

During most of the 1900s, the hours of work declined for most American men. But around 1970, the share of employed men regularly working more than 50 hours per week began to increase...

This shift was especially pronounced among highly educated, high-wage, salaried, and older men. For college-educated men, the proportion working 50 hours or more climbed from 22.2 percent to 30.5 percent in these two decades.
Ouch, I'd say.

Guess that's why Bhutan's King Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 1972 created the term Gross National Happiness. Here's a link to a set of papers related to GNH from the Center for Bhutan Studies. There's also a project that promotes Gross International Happiness.

Now, wouldn't you wanna be one of the happy ones? :)

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