I don't know how Austrian this is. I bet it probably isn't very Lionel Robbins-ish. He, after all, said "every mind is inscrutable to every other, and no common denominator of feeling is possible." If he's right, then measuring happiness is ridiculous. Maybe you think so, too.
My dissertation at the LSE was on the economics of happiness. Somewhere along the way I guess I was convinced that we could measure happiness or, at least, give a 'good enough' account of it. And, since some prominent economists--especially Richard Layard who let me use a manuscript version of his book "Happiness" as I was doing research--are using happiness data to plump for more statism, I thought throwing a wrench into those works would be a good idea.
A synopsis: We're (Westerners) wealthier, healthier, and more educated, but we're no happier than we were 60 years ago. People call this a paradox. They don't really bother too much about the fact that something like 80 per cent of us claim to be 'happy,' which compares favourably with any other non-capitalist nation you care to pick. The solution to the paradox is that, after some point, what matters is relative, not absolute, income. So since the Jones's also have more, none of us are much happier by way of comparison. That's the story.
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Is shaping up nicely .
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