Want to be happy? Live in Bhutan

October 14, 2010

Soon you’ll be hearing more about ‘happiness’ research.

Apparently the point is that government shouldn’t worry about economic growth – we don’t need growth to make us ‘happy’. Columbia University economist and adviser to the United Nations Jeffrey Sachs reckons we should be more like Bhutan. Here he is complaining about ‘consumerism’ in today’s Australian.

Bhutan has a ‘Gross National Happiness Commission’ (no – I’m not making that up). But as the IPA’s Julie Novak has pointed out on her blog – Free Market Liberal – the more money you’ve got the happier you tend to be. Here’s her analysis of some global data on wealth and happiness:

This is what she said and Oliver Hartwich said about Bhutan. Would you really want to live there? (If Sachs likes it so much perhaps he should move there.)

I’m at the Mont Pelerin Society Conference in Sydney. There’s a book and an article that everyone’s talking about. The book is Matt Ridley’s The Rational Optimist (here’s a positive review from Spiked and a negative review from The New York Times). The article is ‘America’s Ruling Class’ by Angelo Codevilla from August’s American Spectator.

Here’s all you need to know about this week’s Nobel Prizes for Economics (it’s a left-field angle) and for Literature.

I was profiled in ‘The Zone‘ in The Age on Monday.

And if you missed Rodney Hide’s launch of Bob Carter’s new climate change book – you can read what Rodney said here.

On Monday night on the ABC’s Q&A, former IPA research fellow Jennifer Marohasy will be debating the future of the Murray-Darling Basin with Tim Flannery and Greg Hunt. (Here’s the ‘impartial’ ABC for you: Flannery who has a PhD in palaeontology (dinosaurs) is called a ‘scientist’ on the program website. Marohasy who has a PhD in entomology (insects) isn’t called a ‘scientist’ – she’s called ‘climate sceptic’.)

In the ABC’s The Drum on Monday, Tom Switzer wondered why we’re in Afghanistan at all, and on Tuesday Chris Berg talked about Nobel Prize-winner Mario Vargas Llosa.

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