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PT and the Greater Good

Cameron's Pursuit of Happiness

Published January 4, 2011 5:47 PM by Dean Metz

The Christmas goose has been finished, the leftovers shared with friends on Boxing Day, Chinese lanterns with wishes for the New Year have floated on air down the River Tyne, and the detritus left from the New Year's merrymakers has been swept from the streets. Now the post-holiday blues can begin in full.

But wait, with the lack of anything remotely important happening this week I've come across this article from late November: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-11833241. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has authorized 2 million GBP to be spent to measure the nation's happiness, claiming that there is more to well-being than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Well, I for one am unhappy that in times of austerity measures the government is spending so much money on this issue. How, by the way, does one measure happiness? I've searched the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for a description of "Happiness." http://www.nice.org.uk/search/guidancesearchresults.jsp?keywords=happiness&newSearch=true&searchType=Guidance

The search engine asked if I was trying to find "Heaviness." It seems even British computers have a sense of irony. It would also appear that my instincts are correct; there is no accepted evidence-based measure of happiness.

I suggest Mr. Cameron simply wait until its re-election time. I think the public will let him know rather clearly whether or not they are happy. It will be 2 million pounds less expensive as well. May you all enjoy a healthy, prosperous and of course happy New Year.

1 comments

Reading the article, Cameron seems to be his own worst critic.  By his own words, his actions make no sense.

Norman Smith makes a good point:  a happiness index is also a misery monitor.  Because of a point he indirectly makes in the his last paragraph:  the fact is that no two people define happiness by the same standards.  Someone who is quite content may walk away from the happiness index feeling an overwhelming sense of lack.

For what it's worth, the US has spent money on such worthless endeavors as which ketchup runs fastest.  Seems government officials everywhere have a twisted sense of what is important.

Ninny...isn't that a British word?  Is it synonomous with government official?

Jane Goude January 4, 2011 10:19 PM

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About this Blog


    Dean Metz
    Occupation: Staff Development Specialist
    Setting: New York, NY – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain
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