Thursday, August 25, 2011

Increase happiness productivity

An increase of the absolute income with a certain sum does a lot more good – results in more well-being – for a poor person than for a rich. One could discuss  the “happiness productivity” of a certain resource i.e. how should we use a resource to deliver as much happiness, or satisfaction or well-being as possible. Compare a litre of water in the swimming-pool of a rich person with the same litre used for drinking or for cooking the daily beans for a poor[1]. Isn't this perspective in itself enough to make us argue in favour of global redistribution of resources? It is clear from what has been discussed that increased material wealth doesn't lead to more well-being, on the contrary, it appears that our quest for more things are not only threatening our space on earth, but ultimately also our own well-being. There is no reason to moralise over this; considering that scarcity was our companion for millennia, we have had no need to develop mechanisms, individually or at the level of society, to limit consumption. But now we see the damage clearly, for our physical environment, for our society and for us as individuals. We have to change both the values that hail consumption and the economic system that has this consumption as its driving force and at the same time amplifies consumption. And those two are strongly linked, one feeds into the other, therefore they need to be tackled simultaneously. Inequality adds to the equation by leading to that people are more frustrated than they would be in a more just society. To compensate for this frustration they consume. Not only that, inequality itself drives comparison and competition, which had growth as its main expression. 

[1]       To make things worse, the cost of one litre of water that you have to carry by hand is often higher in the slums in developing countries than one litre conveniently poured from the tap by the rich, and the quality of the water is also mostly better for the rich. So the poor are triple discriminated against.

Extract from Garden Earth

1 comment:

  1. Nice article to share. Article talking about how to increase happiness. Article also talking about our scene of life. Thanks for sharing.