More than just economics….

Quite a bit of what I’ve studied so far about economics, up until we’ve reached this most recent unit has been all about what is best for economic growth.  Recently, the units we review have started looking at what our economy should be as opposed to what it is.

A lot of what I have been reading is about measuring happiness.  Not just economic happiness, but what the economy can do to improve our every day happiness.  In my experience, these two items are usually exclusive, and looking at how they impact each other is interesting.

It seems that our personal economic state impacts our happiness, but only to a point.  Once you reach and expand beyond a certain point, it can’t influence it anymore.  Increasing happiness any further can’t be done by access to more “stuff”, it takes people and time.  But, it doesn’t mean our economy can’t influence that as well.  A lot of nations seem to be increasing our personal time through economic rules.  Things like 35 hour work weeks, effective public transportation, and mandatory paid vacation times are increasing the happiness in European nations.   While these things may seem to have a negative economic impact, it’s not showing up in practice.  What’s happening is people are becoming happier through being more social, active,  and interactive with their communities while production grows or remains the same.

Productivity vs. Working Hours


The chart above shows that productivity is not a result of how many hours you work.  In fact, productivity declines the longer people work.  If we are to measure happiness, and productivity together, we might yet be able to come up with a working measure that not only increases our production, but makes us happier while we do it.


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So, a little about me eh?  Born and raised in a little U.P. town on the east end of Lake Superior, I moved down to the Lansing area about 10 years ago to work in Call Center Workforce Management.  It's fairly specialized work, and because of that, my job level has outpaced my education, so it's time to balance that back out.  Would you like to know more?  Just ask.

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