Saturday, June 11, 2011

Warning: Bruno Frey May Win the Noble Prize in Economics

You may have come across the term "happiness research". Be very careful of this "research". It's a cover for more central planning. Thomas DiLrenzo warns:
A very large literature has built up over the past several decades in the area of so-called "happiness research." ... Now that governments supposedly know with "scientific certainty" what constitutes "happiness," there can be no argument (or so they think) against virtually unlimited government intervention in the name of creating happiness.
It's very dubious research, with alarming conclusions:
Affluence is actually a disease that generates massive unhappiness, says the Australian author of a popular book in this field, entitled Affluenza. The government of Brazil is in the process of enshrining this notion into its constitution, and similar movements exist in Great Britain and other countries.

These assumptions rest on the proclamation that public-opinion surveys are sufficient measures of cardinal utility. The economists who make such assumptions studiously ignore all of the reasons why economists have disavowed such practices – especially the notion of demonstrated preference – for generations.
The lead witch doctor conducting this research among economists is Bruno Frey. DiLorenzo writes:
The one economist who is arguably the leader in the field of "happiness research" (at least among economists) is Bruno Frey of the University of Zurich. When I asked him at a conference in Prague several years ago about the age-old criticisms of replacing actual demonstrated preferences with questionnaires, his response was that his "data" were no worse than GDP data. As bad and as unreliable as GDP data are, "happiness research" questionnaire data are at least no worse, he said.

But in fact, much of the happiness-research data are much, much worse...Bruno Frey is no socialist, but the area of research that he champions is being very enthusiastically embraced by interventionists, socialists, and would-be central planners within the economics profession.
DiLorenzo concludes:
Bruno Frey himself has published dozens of articles and several books of this sort, and may well win the Nobel Prize in Economics for them. It would not be a shock if the Swedish socialists who decide on the prize, funded by the Swedish central bank (not the estate of Alfred Nobel), gave the award to Professor Frey some day. That would be an enormous boon to all the socialists of the world, who have never let economic reality or economic logic stand in their way.
Consider yourself warned.

DiLorenzo's full analysis is here. Find the time and read it, because, sadly, you will be hearing a lot more about happiness research.


  1. Don't worry, be happy. Or else!!!!

  2. even if the gov should have such power, why should they make everyone happy? why not make everyone more moral? surely that seems a more noble goal than just making everyone more happy