Thursday, November 25, 2010

Very Unhappy

You're no happier than him - want to swap?

So WTF is Dave making us spend £2m measuring happiness?

To be honest I can't face blogging it. The whole business of so-called "happiness economics" makes me want to leave the tent and wander off alone into the blizzard.

We've blogged the dismal "science" of happiness several times (eg here and here). In brief, it is based on the ludicrous idea that happiness can be measured, and that you can compare happiness today with happiness yesterday. The "measurement" comprises asking people how happy they feel out of 5 (no, really).

OK - out of 5, how happy are you feeling right now?

I have no idea what you've said, but I do know that averaged across all of us, the answer will be around 2.2. That's because it always is. Come rain or shine, better or worse, richer or poorer, the average never changes much.

And to prove it, here's a picture we blogged earlier ("life satisfaction" is another term for happiness, and the new economics foundation - nef - are major promoters of the whole crackers concept):

What is Dave thinking of?

Hopefully it is just some kind of spin exercise, in which case it's just another £2m flushed down the bog.

But the real worry  is that he hopes to use it somehow to guide policy. To accept the soppy left's argument that lower economic growth doesn't matter because more money doesn't make us any happier. That we were all just as happy back in 1973 with the Austin Allegro. Or back in 1473 with unglazed windows.

Back in 10000 BC, some lefty druid almost certainly used the same argument against the invention of fire.

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