Mahalanobis is discussing the happiness, or reported subjective well being, scale. The subject has gained a lot of momentum since The Economist did a story on its special, years end, issue and David Cameron argued that SWB should influence policy:
"It's time we admitted that there's more to life than money, and it's time we focused not just on GDP, but on GWB - general well-being," he said.
"Well-being can't be measured by money or traded in markets. It's about the beauty of our surroundings, the quality of our culture and, above all, the strength of our relationships.
"Improving our society's sense of well-being is, I believe, the central political challenge of our times."
Tom West, in a comment in Marginal Revolution, brings out this intriguing point:
In any case, it's always nice to have a glimpse at how nations compare in the happiness scale, as measured in
I get a strong feeling that happiness research is frowned upon by a lot of economists because it threatens the motivation behind the one thing they know how to do well: create growth.
There's pretty strong evidence that the ideal conditions for creating growth (such as insecurity, high labor mobility, and increased inequality) are not conducive to happiness. If one decides that even the desired end-product doesn't produce happiness, then it's a pretty short road to asking why we're making ourselves miserable pursuing an outcome that doesn't make us happy.
And if we do that, then a lot of economists holding hammers get told that the world is not necessarily a big nail.
Marks, N., Abdallah, S., Simms, A, Thompson, S. (2006). The Happy Planet Index. London: New Economics Foundation.
So here it is. [I'm sure readers will understand that, for reasons of space, I had to make a random, arbitrary, cut point.]
|ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA||247|
|ST KITTS AND NEVIS||247|
|ST VINCENT AND THE||240|
|TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO||230|
|SAO TOME AND PERINI||223|