February 11th, 2008

At work, Self portrait

Monetizing happiness? Or happinizing money?

Over a year old, but still good, Nick Cohen's blog entry on meeting Andrew Oswald is a great introduction to the economics of happiness. I agree with Oswald that money is simply a convenient comparison. You could just as well say that a dollar is roughly 1/100 000 of the value of being married for a year, but dollars are by far more convenient. On the other hand, the value of the dollar (or pound) changes fairly quickly, while the values of marriage, going to church, or being white changes only slowly if at all.

Of course, the irony is that in my life, his theories looks like pure fiction. I should have killed myself years ago if my happiness was decided by the factors he lists. The opposite is rather the case: I actively try to live as long as possible, and would gladly continue to do so indefinitely. I suppose the value of consciousness is very high but hard to quantify.