How do we measure happiness as part of the economy?

in Economy, Growth, Job Hunting, Work Hours

The French President Nicolas Sarkozy is asking that very question. How can the economic measures done include the relative happiness of the populous in the economic growth ?

Interesting question but who cares? If there is economic growth the relative happiness of any single worker has very little to do with any of this, that is the nature of the free market system. I am not saying that employers and governments should not care about happiness of workers in their companies or their countries, what I am saying, is: They don’t. The only time the relative happiness of employees or workers ever comes into play is when there is a scarcity of those employees and then the Employers must then make sure their employees are happy (to retain them).

Case in Point

Over my thirty years working various jobs my best examples of what makes people happy is simply whether they get good pay raises,whether their direct boss or the people they work with are good to work with, and whether they enjoy their direct job. I have been lucky in that most of my bosses have been reasonable folk and the folk I work with the same, so my only “happiness” monitor was and is money.

How do I make more money? I really don’t know. Years when I think I have been effective, I have had little or no pay raise, years where I feel I have failed I have been rewarded highly (and vice versa). If someone could train me in how to increase my Happiness by increasing my income, I’d be even happier. If anyone cares to comment on getting a raise, I am interested in hearing your Happiness and Pay Raise stories.

Anecdote

Two years in a row I went into my “pay adjustment” discussions with my boss expecting raises and both times I got not much:

  • The first year my company had not done very well and the stock had dropped a fair amount and the statement I got from my boss at the time was, “How can you expect a raise look at the stock price?
  • The next year, the same boss and I went into our adjust meeting, the stock had rebounded the company was doing much better and when I asked about why my raise was about the same as the previous lean year, given the stock price had rebounded, I got the statement, “The Stock Price, has nothing to do with your relative pay raise“.

Bosses say the darndest things don’t they?

{ 4 comments }

  • nancy (aka money coach) January 11, 2008, 12:17 AM

    Personally, I would like canadian economic discussions to include more than simply gdp/employment rate etc. It can easily create misleading impressions. I’d like it to include: yeah, our unemployment rate dropped, because of a bunch of sucky minimum-wage-that-no-one-can-realisitically-survive-on jobs, or include measures like white collar crime stats.

    Reply
  • Nicolas January 10, 2008, 8:20 PM

    The Kingdom of Bhtuan has figured this one out a while ago. It’s called Gross National Happiness (GNH) and it’s much more serious than most people think.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_national_happiness

    I think even our governement could benefit from this.

    Reply
  • bigcajunman January 10, 2008, 9:46 AM

    I think that is the case, I just think it interesting that someone wants to measure “Happiness”. What makes me happy is most likely not what makes other people happy.

    Retiring before I die would make me very happy!

    –C8j

    Reply
  • Michael James January 10, 2008, 9:38 AM

    Perhaps Sarkozy doesn’t expect the French economy to do well under his watch, and so he wants to deflect attention by coming up with bogus stats on how France has become happier. Either that or he really believes in trying to make the population happier. I can’t tell which it is.

    Reply

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