Monday, March 14, 2011

GNH - Gross National Happiness

Just as I was about to toss the Sunday New York Times (yes I still get the weekend paper for nostalgic reasons) in the recycle bin, I noticed an Op-Ed piece I had skipped over, "The Happynomics of Life" by Roger Cohen. The piece speaks to politics in Great Britain, but I am going to side-step that in this post. (If you wish to explore the underlying political layers on David Cameron and his policies, be sure to read today's response by Paul Krugman.) The article was thought-provoking on a more fundamental level.

Great Britain wants to officially measure happiness in the population. According to the article, next month their government will pose questions like the following and ask people to respond on a 1-10 scale:

How satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
How anxious did you feel yesterday?
How happy did you feel yesterday?

They say that what gets measured gets focus. Will simply asking the question encourage people to be more introspective? I have seen the occasional article hypothesizing that the Great Recession is encouraging people to have a greater appreciation for the simple things. I wonder if this is genuine or fleeting.

I've set up a little poll just for fun. (It is off to the right of this page.) I would love to hear your opinions.

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