Nature: Americans inefficiently happy; Should be more like Costa Ricans

A commentary in Nature suggests that Americans could be happier than they are now with a lot less impact on the Earth — just like Costa Rica. And all we need is some good ol’ central planning.

Click for the commentary. Below is the chart that shows how inefficient we are at being happy. (Click to enlarge)

Also cracking us up is the article’s assertion:

In the United States, for example, earnings above US$75,000 don’t add much more happiness.

The footnoted study for that astonishing claim is Kahneman, D.& Deaton, A. “High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being,” Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 107, 16489–16493 (2010).

Consider yourself reminded that Nature and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences hold themselves out as science journals.

5 thoughts on “Nature: Americans inefficiently happy; Should be more like Costa Ricans”

  1. explain to me why our standard of living is so irritating to some people of the upper crust? I mean me and my hubby were talking about this he said on the tv they said americans standard of living is too high I said in relation to what? he didn’t answer, and I asked why is that a bad thing? instead of lowering ours to match the others how about we up the standard of living to them in order to equalize us all? why are people so obessed with the standard of living in the usa? I mean we aren’t asking them to pay for it are we? how about being obsessed with helping others to increase theirs and finding real solutions that balance nature with man who is part of creation or nature as some call it? why are they stirring up envy in the poor man’s heart? we didn’t cause their poverty did we? I don’t control the imf or world bank do you? they are supposed to be helping the poor develope arnt they? why do they equate how much money to happiness? if the super rich are so unhappy why don’t they give it all up? my guess is the 70 thousand range and up is unhappy because they have to work so dang hard and have to give up half of it in taxes permits and fees just to live let alone thrive and have to many regulations to live by. they have little time to do things in life they would like to do but don’t have the money or the time to do it.
    that alone would make anyone depressed, overworked unpaid and over taxed and regulated, maybe they could address these instead. money is a means to an end, the more you have the more you can do. rosa

  2. Wow, we should study those Costa Ricans more. They must have some nice tricks for dealing with all their winter snow like our northern states and 120 degree F summer days like our southwestern states.

  3. I am in that income bracket and I’m quite happy. No, money can’t buy happiness, but it can help remove obstacles that would otherwise prevent it.

  4. People in North Korea are very happy. Kim Jong Ill has made sadness punishable by death, you see, and the people of North Korea do what their God-Dictator tells them to do.

    When you don’t like the numbers, make up some measurement, grab data that agrees with you (the Happy Planet Index? IN A PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL?!?!? This is what passes for getting into Nature nowadays?) Seriously, the rankings of Happy Life Years calculations seems to be based on how low they can rank the USA.

    This would be a half-decent article in Scientific American. However, I thought that getting into Nature meant something.

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