Sunday, June 03, 2007

Happiness. How do you measure it?

There is an article at the Adam Smith Institute Blog by Tim Worsall on happiness and how the UK is one of the happiest places around. Being classed as happy. Read the linked articles for the full details.

Maybe I'm just thick, and I'm not discounting it, but unless you go to a club and discuss the topic most of us seem to discuss things that make us unhappy. We discuss the pathetic state of the weather, taxes, the state of the country, how useless our politicians are, how stupid people are on the latest fad show and blogs and the media seem to do nothing but talk about things that are -ve as well, accidents, disasters, bad uns, how bad we are as a people or the state of the UK. It's our culture. Using this basis you would assume that most of us are unhappy.

A few weeks ago I was told by a reader if I was so unhappy I should move abroad. I responded that I wasn't that unhappy. In fact I personally was doing OK. Family OK, good job, enough money to live on. I just didn't think the situation was OK and fair. It is unlikely to impact on me personally because of where I live but will on others in other places and it does not fit in with my sense of fair play and is therefore not right. Does that make me unhappy? Sure, a little bit, but unhappy as a whole, No.

I've always classed myself as an average bloke. What I see and like most other blokes do as well. At least 95%. The real blokes not these namby pamby whingey whiney people though. The noisy 5% that seem to get 95% of the attention. So I would guess that 95% of the general population is like me as well. but that is pure guesswork. Do they base it on the number of murders, riots, strikes? If so would we be in the top group? I doubt it many places which are not there have better records than us.

So, if this country is high on the list of happy people and we all know what is happening here then it makes me fear for the future when so many other countries are unhappy. And they all seem to blame their unhappiness on us. partly due to our foreign policy and our whingy whiney people apologising for everything. Someone sees us apologising for the situation they are in and all of a sudden it is our false. They then want compensation and revenge. Now apologising may make us happy but it then leads to unhappiness elsewhere.

The twist in the tale is that we have an article that comes to a conclusion I kind of agree with but based on no facts I understand. That worries me as that was my original feeling on the death penalty, interment, gun bans, drug policy and immigration. All the things I agreed about on gut feel have bitten the dust through logic.

Mmmm. I'm unhappy now.


At 3:17 pm, Blogger Crushed by Ingsoc said...

You can quote what statistics you like to suggest we SHOULD be happy here.

But we're not.

So the wrong indicators are being focussed on.

At 3:45 pm, Blogger Tim Worstall said...

The original study is linked there but you're right, they don't go into how they determine happiness. However, there are a number of cross country comparisons done about how happy people are. The bank took those numbers and then tried to find out what contributed to them.

Having lived in a number of different places (Russia, Porugal, the US, Italy) as well as the UK I do have to say that Brits are really quite happy. We may not dance in the streets about it but as Bag points out, most are, well, "content" isn't that bad a word, is it?

At 4:48 pm, Blogger Bag said...

CBI. I think that's why Happy is the top group and not exctatic. Most people are but not all. In the UK it's rare to starve to death and most of us don't worry if we are going to die the next day.

Tims comment about contents fits the bill for me. Don't want to rock the boat because it could get worse.

Although I am mindful of linking association with causation. We are relativly happy and so is the US and Oz. We all speak English as our primary language. I'm including US english as real english here. So it must be speaking English that is the reason why.

I should have put that in the article but only though of it when Timmade his comment.

At 8:51 pm, Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

That reader who told you to move abroad was not thinking straight. Clearly part of what makes us happy is striving for something better. That's why we talk about the awful weather etc. Part of what bring us satisfaction (and therefore happiness) is the perpetual search for something better. The happiness is in the journey not in arriving at the destination.

I'll ignore your tirade about apologies and the rest of the world as that sounded just a little bit insane...

At 12:23 am, Blogger Bag said...

Snuffle, Only a little bit. My doctor will be pleased.

What was the bit about apologies that you didn't like?


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