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The science of happiness

BBC reports on the “178-nation “Happy Planet Index”” that lists the south Pacific island of Vanuatu as the happiest nation on the planet. The study was conducted by the think-tank New Economics Foundation (Nef). Main lesson: well-being is not tied to levels of consumption. Vanuatu reports highest levels of happiness, with very modest level of consumption. In contrats: “The UK economy hoovers up vast quantities of the world’s scarce resources, yet British people are no happier than Colombians, who use far fewer.”

There is a positive lesson to be learned from this: “The current crude focus on GDP is outdated, destructive and doesn’t deliver a better quality of life.” Consistently, The NEF offers a “global manifesto for a happier planet” that will list ways nations can live within their environmental limits and increase people’s quality of life. The recommendations include:

* Eradicating extreme poverty and hunger
* Recognising the contribution of individuals and unpaid work
* Ensuring economic policies stay within environmental limits

Sounds like good sense.

University of Michigan is reporting on the micro-level problems of incresed focus on economic prosperity:

“The more money you earn, the more time you are likely to spend working, commuting and doing other compulsory activities that bring little pleasure, according to an article in the June 30 issue of Science”

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