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Can money buy happiness?

 
 
cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 4 Mar, 2005 11:42 am
nimh, Sex ed = parenting ed sounds reasonable to this reader.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Sat 5 Mar, 2005 04:16 am
nimh wrote:
You quoted the article as suggesting that "to protect children, the state should act to try to make family life more manageable, through better school hours, flexible hours at work, means-tested childcare, and maternity and paternity leave". That sounds like perfectly common sense political wishlist items to me. What gives you the creeps about these 'action points', the compulsoriness of parenting classes aside? (And on that point, again, I'm not much for compulsory anything, but if we give sex ed in the schools why not parenting ed..)

The rest of the list doesn't give me the creeps, but I am suspicious of his general implication, unsubstantiated by the rest of the article, that there's an improvement here and people are just too dumb to make it by themselves. Longer school hours (which I think is what Mr. Layard means by "better"), may well keep the children of bad parents out of depression, but may just as well drive the children of good parents into it. I am speeking from personal experience here. My general mindset has made me an outsider in every group I was ever compelled to be part of, and I was extremely unhappy in school until about the 12th grade (out of the 13 we have in Germany). With what Mr. Layard considers "better" school hours, I wouldn't have had the afternoons to myself, there's a good chance my frustration and depression would have risen to an extent I wouldn't have made it to 12th grade. Tradeoffs like these don't play much of a role in his arguments.

Flexible hours sound great in theory, and one of the reasons I have chosen my current job is because the hours are almost completely flexible. ("Almost" means I can't work any time between 10:30 pm and 5:30 am, a constraint I can live with.) But in practice, for A to work efficiently, it is often necessary that B be available while A is at work. B, in turn, depends on C being there; C depends on D, and so on ad nauseam. The sum of all these dependencies don't take all the flexibility out of my schedule, but a large part of it. At least in Germany, I doubt there is much improvement to be had through government action on behalf of more flexible hours. The case may be different in the Netherlands, the UK, or America.

Parental leave -- no problem from my point of view.

Parenting ed -- no particular problem with the claim that this is a useful subject to teach. Much problem with the compulsory part. If my children have to learn how to live their lives, I don't want them to learn it from so corrupt a source as a government monopoly curriculum.
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refreshing29
 
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Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2005 09:28 am
Money and Happiness
How about the fact that people with money have a higher rate of suicide than the general population. How does that factor in?
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 3 Jun, 2005 09:30 am
refreshing29, Welcome to a2k. I'm not sure as a generalization that people with money have higher rates of suicide, but I did read many decades ago that dentists have the highest rate of suicide for doctors. Don't know if that still holds true.
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Thomas
 
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Reply Thu 24 Nov, 2005 04:15 am
Robert Frank has an article in the New York Times that examines the Bush tax cuts in terms of how much happiness they created for rich people.

Robert Frank wrote:
WHEN market forces cause income inequality to grow, public policy in most countries tends to push in the opposite direction. In the United States, however, we enact tax cuts for the wealthy and cut public services for the needy. Cynics explain this curious inversion by saying that the wealthy have captured the political process in Washington and are exploiting it to their own advantage.

This explanation makes sense, however, only if those in power have an extremely naïve understanding of their own interests. A careful reading of the evidence suggests that even the wealthy have been made worse off, on balance, by recent tax cuts. The private benefits of these cuts have been much smaller, and their indirect costs much larger, than many recipients appear to have anticipated.

On the benefit side, tax cuts have led the wealthy to buy larger houses, in the seemingly plausible expectation that doing so would make them happier. As economists increasingly recognize, however, well-being depends less on how much people consume in absolute terms than on the social context in which consumption occurs. Compelling evidence suggests that for the wealthy in particular, when everyone's house grows larger, the primary effect is merely to redefine what qualifies as an acceptable dwelling.

Read full article

Frank goes on to argue that while the wealthy do not benefit as much from their tax cuts as they might expect, they are harmed just like everybody else from deteriorating public health, fiscal instability, reduced basic research, and other consequences of decreased public spending. I don't I entirely agree with Frank's article, but I find his arguments interesting and well-put. Definitely worth a read.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Thu 24 Nov, 2005 10:01 am
The latest cuts from the feds are to social programs including food and health coverage for our children and their families.

There's something missing that's hard to grasp; the christian right and their ability to cut programs for their less fortunate neighbor.
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Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Thu 12 Aug, 2010 11:21 pm
The New York Times has an interesting article on this old topic, with pointers to original research I'd like to pursue later. So I might as well dump the link to the article in here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/08/business/08consume.html
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Fri 13 Aug, 2010 12:43 am
@husker,
husker wrote:
Economic researchers quantify a �'happiness calculus'

June 15 �- So, you think money can buy you happiness and make all your troubles disappear? How much would it take? Researchers have taken a new look at that famous question and have come up with some answers that may surprise you.

What is your thought?

Can Money buy happiness???
Most of the time, yes.





David
0 Replies
 
 

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