The Happy Planet Index shows the problem with woolly wellbeing studies

Strong words on Left Foot Forward, Jules Peck - a trustee at think tanks the new economics foundation and ResPublica - has written that: "The TaxPayers’ Alliance merely makes a mockery of citizens as well as themselves by denying this evidence." He is outraged that Emma Boon told the newspapers a £2 million survey to find people value "health, family and relationships, work, the environment and education" shouldn't be a priority for taxpayers' hard earned money. To understand why we aren't the ones embarrassing ourselves, ask yourself the simple question: do you think Sweden or Burma is a better model of how to achieve "long, happy lives without over-stretching the planet’s resources"?

The new economics foundation, whose research Mr Peck refers to a number of times, think the answer is Burma. In fact, here is a list of countries ranked by their score in the second edition of the Happy Planet Index.

Of course it is right that people don't only value material prosperity, that they value "relationships, time spent with friends and family, time spent in nature and a healthy environment, security and flow in work, equality and good health". Emma didn't say that they didn't. She said that we didn't need to spend £2 million to find that out. It isn't just common sense either, as was reported in an IEA study it has been established in longitudinal happiness studies.

For more about the taxpayer-funded craziness of the new economics foundation, read my new book Let Them Eat Carbon.

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