News today that Mr Cameron has the government “poised” to start measuring the nation’s happiness has been met with responses akin to the entire nation going “WTF?” The majority of responses on The Guardian’s article on this encapsulate this very well.
It certainly seems a rather unusual move to announce after outlining some of the worst spending cuts for quite a long time, and during the middle of the recession too. And yet, it does kind of make sense to start measuring it now. Well, it makes sense for the current government to start measuring now, whilst we’re at our most miserable as a nation.
As various groups have been pushing for some time, measuring and recording a nation’s “happiness” can be just a good a way of seeing how a country is doing along with economic output. In fact, you can check out this groovy infographic of the world’s nations right now, and find out who’s happiest. Hint: it certainly isn’t the US and it certainly isn’t the UK. Though, obviously, there are a lot of African nations that are a lot worse off.
What I’m trying to say is that it makes sense for the Coalition to bring this in, as it’ll be a way of showing, come next election, how things have been going whilst they’ve been in office this time round. If they don’t manage to do anything with the four trillion plus pounds of debt the country is in, if people somehow become happier during their term, then at least they’ll have something to boast about.
Another side of me is thinking, whilst I type all this, that considering the amount of money it would cost to properly do this, would it not be wiser to invest this money in the things that cause people to be unhappy in the first place? Like putting it towards free child care so that people who want to work, who have children, but are only earning a pittance can work…
Of course if the government wants some real positive responses from the start, it better get busy lacing the water supply with the likes of Prozac.