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In search of happiness.....with, or without, an economist!

Newsweek has this week features this rather fascinating cover story on what it dubs "In Search of Happiness:

"Quick: think about what would make you really, really happy. More money? Wrong. 2.5 smiling, well-adjusted kids? Wrong again. Now think about what would make you most unhappy: losing your sight or a bad back? No, the bad back. The fact is, we are terrible at predicting the source of joy. (Sex is the big exception, but you get the point.) And whatever choices we do make, we likely later decide it was all for the best.

These are insights from happiness economics, perhaps the hottest field in what used to be called the dismal science. Happiness is everywhere—on the best-seller lists, in the minds of policymakers, and front and center for economists—yet it remains elusive. The golden rule of economics has always been that well-being is a simple function of income. That's why nations and people alike strive for higher incomes—money gives us choice and a measure of freedom. But a growing body of studies show that wealth alone isn't necessarily what makes us happy. After a certain income cap, we simply don't get any happier. And it isn't what we have, but whether we have more than our neighbor, that really matters. So the news last week that in 2006 top hedge-fund managers took home $240 million, minimum, probably didn't make them any happier, it just made the rest of us less so."

Needless to say economocs intrudes into the debate. Read the full piece here.

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