Rantings and tirades of a frustrated economist.
Happiness research is a total waste of time. It's impossible to measure it for even a single person, and adding results up into some sort of aggregate "total happiness" is completely absurd.A better measure would be suicides per capita, but even that is strongly affected by cultural attitudes towards suicide in different countries.
I have lived in various parts of Latin America for short periods of time, and it generally seemed to me that people had a much more relaxed attitude toward a wide variety of things (including being on time.) I was last in Northern Mexico 2 years ago, and that seems to be changing very fast. Maybe people (generally) in Latin America experience lower levels of stress.Junam
With leaders like Hugo Chávez, perhaps their happiness is dictated to them. While lower income does not always mean happiness, according to this chart, higher income seems to guarantee it.
Surveys and "self-reported" stuff suck to the extreme. My 2 cents. :-)
Warmer climates require that one wear less clothing. One need only have a look at many of the women in that region of the world to understand the connection. :)
A friend of mine went on a mission trip to Central America - I think it was Honduras, but I could be wrong. She came back amazed at how poor - and how joyful - the people were that they worked with. She couldn't believe that people who lived in shacks made of sticks and garbage could be so happy.I can't guess what the causes of that might be, except perhaps that when you're eking out a subsistence existence, you don't have time to be dissatisfied? When your daily bread isn't a sure bet, you're more grateful to have it? Hrm. Not very quantifiable...
There's also the correlation between suicide and less sun. That being said, that doesn't explain why other tropical areas say, Malaysia etc., are not as happy as latin folk. Mayhaps it has something to do with the local ladies. Not that I'd be studying that! ;)
"That being said, that doesn't explain why other tropical areas say, Malaysia etc., are not as happy as latin folk."Easy: it's because Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country, and they stay dressed up no matter how hot it gets.
What is actually interesting about the distribution of the scores is that they are roughly a logistic curve. It's easy to see a mean line throught the data that looks s-shaped with a rapid upward slope at the low end of income that flattens out at the upward end of income. This is exactly what economic theory predicts: there is a marginally declining rate of utility (i.e., happiness) with contant increases in some desired commodity, like money. What this shows is that money does buy happiness (assuming there is a causative effect in play), but up to a point.The variation around the mean line could be explained by other factors. My suspicion is that countries that have higher happiness with lower income relative the those countries with the highest incomes is that the poorer countries have stronger familial relationships.Do you know if the happiness scale is linear or logarithmic?
Post a Comment