Monday, August 27, 2007


(photo by Flickr user Jonnybaker)

The AP has a story on happiness, via USA today, complete with inappropriate photo provided by Agence France Press.

Whatever sells papers...

Follow this, if you can. Does money matter?

Wealth counts, but most studies of individuals show income disparities count more. Surprisingly, however, citizens are no happier in welfare states, which strive to mitigate the distortions of capitalism than in purer free-market economies.

"In the beginning, I didn't believe my eyes," said Veenhoven of his data. "Icelanders are just as happy as Swedes, yet their country spends half what Sweden does (per capita) on social welfare," he said.

To me, the most surprising thing is that kids don't help happiness. That makes me wonder about whether there's any real science to these methodologies.

(Photo by Flickr user Photoplasia).

U.S. researchers have found other underlying factors: married people are more content than singles, but having children does not raise happiness levels; education and IQ seem to have little impact; attractive people are only slightly happier than the unattractive; the elderly — over 65 — are more satisfied with their lives than the young; friendships are crucial.

But the research also shows that many people are simply disposed to being either happy or disgruntled, and as much as 50% of the happiness factor is genetic. Like body weight, moods can swing only so much from their natural "set point."

So can you do anything about it? Some educators say you can.

Color me, at least in private, a skeptic.

No comments: