Daily Chart: The World In Happiness

Via Catherine Rampell, I see the new economics foundation (hip lowercase in the original) has released its second Happy Planet Index. The index attempts to rank the world on the basis of how efficiently countries produce happy lives -- that is, lifespan and level of satisfaction divided by rate of resource consumption. Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica come out on top.

Whether this is a meaningful measure is an open question. Measuring happiness raises philosophical and practical questions that are perhaps best handled with a dorm room and a bong, not a think tank. Nonetheless, I sympathize with the NEF"s -- excuse me, the nef's -- impulse. Gross Domestic Product is in many ways an unsatisfying measure of national wellbeing, and it seems intuitively true to me that a very high level of consumption is neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for happiness (whatever it is).

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open for 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Business

Just In