Pursuit of Happiness

How do we define and measure happiness? Recent studies have shown that happiness as measured by national surveys in the United States have hardly changed over 50 years.

Worse still is the fact that even though the rich are generally happier than the poor, rich countries (G7) do not get happier as they get richer. Other studies even yield more bizarre results by showing us that elderly people who stop working tend to die sooner than their peers who labour on.

This serves to convey the message that solely being rich, and not working do not make an individual happy. Most of the top prizes of society like top jobs, the best education, and exclusive home address are positional goods that are fixed in supply: you can enjoy them only if others do not.

An elite schooling, for example, ceases to be so if it is provided to everyone. Richard Layard, an economist at the London School of Economics argued that we cannot help minding other people’s business. Doing well yourself is not enough as we also want to do better than our peers.

Fred Hirsch also serves to strengthen this argument in his 1977 book, “The Social Limits to Growth.” According to Mr Hirsch, sometimes a quick car, fine suit, or attractive house is not enough. One must have the fastest car, finest suit, or priciest house.

Source: The Economists

One Response to “Pursuit of Happiness”
  1. Cecilia Chua says:

    Money is not everything, right?

    And your final 2 para, typical of human’s behavior nowadays….KIASU!

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