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June 13, 2005


EU Serf

I gave up watching the series Casualty because they kept killing the doctors and nurses. I gave up watching East Enders because everyone is so miserable.

My life became a lot happier.


Mr Serf: do try the Fry and Laurie version of Jeeves and Wooster, old fruit. Just the ticket. Pip, pip.

Paddy Carter

I haven't thought about this too deeply - but isn't the concept of revealed preference rather non-refutable? I mean it is always possible to say that so-and-so is behaving like this-or-that because that's what they prefer to do.


"Free choices, then, don't maximize happiness. I for one find the implications of this rather disturbing"

well, actually, all that's been shown here - perhaps not in the book - is that free choice over how much telly you watch might not maximise happiness in all cases (since presumably the people how didn't watch as much telly chose not to, and are doing better happiness wise, and nothing is implied about other choices: it might be that we're systematically bad at choosing how much telly to watch, but not anything else). It doesn't say either about preference-satisfation either, as long as that's not the same thing as happiness. Also, why should we care about happiness, and particularly about maximising it: is it a point in favour of my torturing people that it makes me happy? No, if anything, it's a point against it, because it's wrong to enjoy doing such an awful thing. Also, now I think about it, it doesn't even show that free choice of some people about watching telly doesn't maximise happiness, because controling for other causes of unhappiness, unless we've isolated every other possible cause of unhappiness, tells us nothing other than, ruling out these things as causal agents, there is a correlation between unhappiness and watching lots of telly.


Hmmm, I don't watch much TV 'cos my telly's crap and I'm depressed because it's a perennial reminder that I can't afford a new one...


TV makes me depressed because I only watch sports and my team is not too good.

Anyway, its not free choice that maximizes happiness, its the result of those choices.


Yes, Jeeves and Wooster is very good. I can fully understand why TV may make some people less happy. There is a lot of depressing rubbish on. One of the great things about Freeview is that it does provide an eclectic range of gems from the past (like Jeeves).

Of course if there really is nothing to watch one can always surf the net /read blogs. I wonder if that raises happiness?

As well as TV content positively deprssing people I also think the passive nature of TV engenders a post TV tristesse when one/some realise they could have done something more fulfilling than watching whetever just happened to be on.


Maybe we become less happy because on TV there's a lot of beautiful women... and ugly guys having sex with them in programmes. If we had TV demonstrating sheep herding, or windmill construction... then we'd all feel much happier that our own lives weren't so bland.

Rob Read

Perhaps due to the nature of the license fee, the people of the UK feel they have allready (been forced to) payed for it, so they might as well maximise their use of broadcasting?

Could allowing people to purchase individual programs that interest them thus raise the happyness level?

Georg Ortega

Of course, if kids watched my program, The Happiness Show, www.thehappinessshow.com,(the world's first TV show entirely devoted to helping viewers become happier) they would quickly become much happier! Now all we need is for someone to create a network quality happiness show.


I've got rid of cable and am miserable now.... The PC is just not the same.

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