Happiness – the greatest GDP that I possess

Published on 9 December 2010 at 12:14


“A measure of happiness” headlines Der Freitag, devoting a front-page report to the end of GDP as an effective measure of national well-being. Over the last four decades, many commentators have highlighted the tenuous relationship between statistical indicators of prosperity and the level of happiness in societies, but this growing awareness has yet to be acknowledged by Germany’s politicians, and in particular by Angela Merkel. In fact, given the international enthusiasm for German economic growth, the Chancellor, a trained physicist, could be forgiven for thinking that she is presiding over a miracle. However, the newspaper argues that “German obsession with GDP” does not take into account “the real nature of our times.” That said, Der Freitag warns against any governmental attempt to create a happiness indicator which, it argues, would transform democracy into a statistical technocracy. The creation of an effective measurement for happiness would have to remain a scientific rather than a political project.

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