The Happy Economist
Arvamus 09 Nov 2009  EWR
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George A. Pieler & Jens F. Laurson | TCS Daily

Should there be a Nobel Prize for creating happiness? Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz may think so—he chaired Nicolas Sarkozy's "International Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress" (ICMEPSP? Let's say "ICM), which recommends a happiness-measure be incorporated into GDP. Nobel or not, it's hard to escape the conclusion this is high-flying nonsense.

Writing in the Financial Times, Stiglitz argued that weighing things like government freebies and personal contentment will give more meaningful comparisons of how nations are doing. Skeptics say ICM was created to justify the French way of life with statistics: i.e., it's better to be semi-efficient and really casual about growth than hard-nosed about growth per se. A great way to get journalists off Sarkozy's back when the raw data don't favor the French model--"Hey, the economy is under-performing but we're happy and we have the GDHP (Gross Domestic Happiness Product) to prove it."

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