Happiness Index

This posting is motivated by the articles written in the latest issue of Newsweek (7 May 2007).

What is the measure of happiness? Can a country say she is better than another based on an “index of happiness”? Can a company say that their employees are happier than another company’s? At an individual level, he/she can say what exactly makes them happy. They can also say what causes them unhappiness. This varies from individual to individual and their measure of happiness is dependent on their individual circumstances.

In 2006, top hedge-fund managers took home US$240 million, minimum, probably didn’t make them any happier, it just made the rest of us less so. So comparison kills happiness even we can live with little to survive.

Loss of job is another killer of happiness. The relentless push by governments to make unemployment rate low is precisely for this reason. Once the basic physical and material needs are satisfied, then the next pursuits of happiness centre on emotional needs such as happy marriage, happy kids, true friendship and work-life balance.

Indeed, there is more to life than money. The reason why some well-known corporate leaders left at their prime is to search for the meaning of life. Money is no longer a motivator. Quality of life is more than the quantity of money. (David Cameron writing for Newsweek) He also advocated that spending more time with family is crucial to happiness. Here governments should be pioneers of flexible working with public -sector employees.

Written on 5/6/2007 5:11 PM

Copyright © 2007, the author known as LKT in Singapore.

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