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January 26, 2006

Comments

Mr. Econotarian

One of the issues is that growth is not an isolated value. Lowered growth policies often result in higher unemployment as population outpaces growth, and higher unemployment tends to lead to discrimination in employment policies (as seen recently in France regarding young immigrants).

Will Wilkinson

1. We live in an economically interconnected world. Lower growth in the US and the UK means lower growth in China and Tanzania. Nation states are not economic silos.

2. Ireland? And if governments can't actually deliver growth, why would you think they could deliver happiness.

And let me say that the happiness data is decidely unreliable. As I pointed out, Oswald himself doesn't know if the surveys really indicate if we're not getting happier on average, or simply reflecting some quirk about the way we report subjective states. The evidence for the latter is better than the former. See the Schwarz essay in the Kahnemann well-being volume.

Last, growth has huge benefits in advanced economies aside from the hedonic ones. It is very vulgar mistake to argue as if the only reason we want growth is so we can have high self-reported well-being. That's crazy.

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