Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happiness is Controlling the Lives of Others

Richard Epstein, of the University of Chicago, recently talked about the burgeoning economic research on happiness. He said that happiness has become a code word for controlling the lives of others.

Some highlights:

* "The standard economic model of human behavior is "Cooperation yes, aggression no."

* "Happiness research is designed to undercut the standard form of market calculus."

* "Researchers who find little connection between either income or wealth on the one hand and happiness on the other have failed to take account of the short-run trade offs people make to get wealth."

* "There is a part of the happiness literature that is designed to make everyone mutually miserable."

* "The conclusion is that, if the empirical studes show that there is only a weak correlation between happiness and wealth, it's okay to take away the wealth because it doesn't make the people who had it less happy."

* "Researchers on happiness fail to account for the kind of behavior that says, "I'll be miserable for five years as long as you make me rich."

Listen to the rest here.

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