Tuesday, November 17, 2009

France Ditches Happiness Index

Jean-Philippe Cotis has saved France from going over the edge.

"We will keep GDP as an indicator measuring economic activity," he told a Paris press conference. "In the middle of macroeconomic crisis, we need an indicator that captures in a rather sophisticated way the fluctuations of market activities."

In other words, and this may make France's President Nicolas Sarkozy unhappy, France will not be issuing a "happiness" index to replace the GDP number.

The GDP number has enough problems in itself, but a happiness index would be over the top.

The Sarkozy proposal to measure happiness came out of a commission headed by U.S. economist Joseph Stiglitz. The political nonsense from such an index would have been unbearable. Picture a government spending more and more on climate control because of a supposed different climate 20 years down the road taht boosted the present value of this future happiness, and thus the happiness index.


  1. Method in that madness.
    The more nebulous some thing is, the more it can be used as a political tool..

  2. I know I'm a little late to the party on this one but maybe you guys can tell me, without a government monitored "Happiness Index" how are the French gonna know when to smile?

  3. Happiness Index on a National scale? well perhaps the reason is reasonable enough. Let me share a pretty more "scientific" or "objective" way, despite "happiness" being a subjective feeeling. But this might entice you: http://www.spreadinghappiness.org/2009/08/what-is-happiness/
    Thank you, Nick