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Governments Try To Calculate ‘Happiness’

September 29, 2011 by  

LONDON, Sept. 28 (UPI) — Several governments say they are considering developing a way to calculate psychological well-being of citizens, a researcher in Britain says.

Charles Seaford, head of the Center for Well-being at the New Economics Foundation in London, said psychologists see happiness as “good functioning” or the meeting of psychological needs, an approach that emphasizes relationships, autonomy, competence and purpose. Economists use more abstract terms such as “utility,” Seaford said.

There is a movement among economists and other researchers to make the psychological well-being of citizens a major government priority, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Ideally, researchers told the journal Nature, they’d like to boil it all down into a single statistic that will resonate with voters — a sort of mental health equivalent of gross domestic product or the unemployment rate.

The commentary in Nature, said government officials in Britain, Germany, China, France, Australia, Ecuador, Italy, Spain and the United States were “taking steps to measure quality of life.”

Seaford and colleagues have begun gathering data on happiness in Britain. In April, the Office of National Statistics added four new questions to its Integrated Household Survey to assess “how satisfied people are with their lives; how happy they were yesterday; how anxious they were yesterday; and how worthwhile they think the things they do are.”

 

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  • s c

    Wow. This sounds like something straight out of Lenin’s writings. Lenin was able to use weak generalizations and childish assumptions to make naive camp-followers think he had discovered an economic ‘science.’
    It’s too bad we don’t have a Ludwig von Mises to dissect this topic. Rothbard is gone, and our whore media is sold on Keynesian monkeys that double as economic saviors (Krugman comes to mind).
    So how much money will be spent by our devolved, elected knuckle-draggers before they learn that happiness can’t be calculated?
    Proving that socialists, communists and progressives suffer from various degrees of self-loathing, guilt and paranoia would be money better spent. Let me guess.
    Haavid, Berkeley, Columbia and a school in Minnesota will get big chunks of easy money to spend like social justice addicts hooked on crack cocaine. Ah, the sweet smell of drive-by “pharmaceutical entrepreneurs” and criminals posing as intellectuals.

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