Friday, September 15, 2006

Wealth & neurosis

Paul Krugman asks whether Americans have become better off since 1973. His answer is ambiguous which is the answer. The same is so for Australia - more flat screen TVs, more traffic jams and more worries about....

The demand for environmental quality is probably a luxury good. So too is the demand for neurotic beliefs. Therefore, are the possibilities for living in a prosperous, happy society self-limiting?

Neuroses are a standard liberal consumption good but not for me. Instead I winge about liberals who demand neuroses.


Jason Soon said...

Leftists, Harry, leftists. Not liberals. But aside from that I agree. I think these people simply have disproportionate voice. ALP voters are more unhappy than Coalition voters. That's what all these happiness surveys find.

hc said...

Correction accepted, leftist.

If you are conservative then you are by definition more at peace with the world than one who seeks radical change.

Christine said...

While I'm happy to believe there are income effects on neuroses (or at least on worrying about your neuroses as opposed to just having them), I'm not sure they're necessarily associated with any particular political ideology, unless it's the political ideology not currently in power. On Jason's point: I'd want to see all that adjusted for party in power and (relative) income, among other things. (Maybe it is - haven't looked at the primary research.)

What about if you're conservative, but your view of the world as you want it to be is from the 1950s? Surely you're not at peace with the world as it currently is?