Posted by: Jacqui Murray | September 25, 2009

How Did France’s Sarkozy Get So Confused

GDP isn’t GNH. One measures product growth, the other happiness. Apples and oranges, Mr. Sarkozy. Pommes et des oranges.

GDP is “Gross Domestic Product”, ‘Gross’ meaning no deductions. ‘Domestic’ meaning national, not international, and ‘Product’ meaning what the country produces. ‘Product’ is tangible, bought and sold. It is a statistical economic term intended to define the “value of all final goods and services produced in a country in one year”, not how happy the residents are producing (or not producing) those products.

So why does France’s Sarkozy want happiness included in GDP? It has nothing to do with the contentment level of the people who create that measure. Money can’t buy happiness.

There are a lot of happiness indexes, each revolving around some Capitalist-hating environmentalist who wants to define life success in terms of happiness. Look at the London think-tank New Economic Foundation and its “Happy Planet” rankings. They say Vanautu is the #1 place in the world for happiness, primarily because it’s least like developed nations.

Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a Bhutan attempt to define quality of life in more holistic and psychological terms than Gross Domestic Product.

Here one by Psychologist Adrian White of the University of Leicester, UK. The US is 23rd, but way ahead of Germany, Britain–and France. Did you see this one Mr. Sarkozy? You’ll have to redefine ‘happiness’ from Dr. White’s satisfaction with life, together with data on health, wealth and access to education:

HappinessMap-710428

Like most moral goals, happiness is easier to state than to define. What makes me happy might not even rank in the top ten for you. And vice versa.

Still, French President Sarkozy wants to redefine Gross Domestic Product in terms of happiness. Right now, GDP stodgily insists that only factual figures be included, which might explain Sarkozy’s interest in redefining GDP. Here’s where France ranks:

gdpOops. US is #2–to the entire European Union, and six times that of France. They’re losing to the US badly by the GDP measure so for some reason they assume their people are happier when they don’t work as hard, take more time off, have more vacations, when the government guarantees the basics of life (food, health, housing, etc). I don’t think that’s happiness. That’s complacency.

How’s this relate to the USNA and our military men and women? Turns out, they rank pretty happy with their lives and jobs. Go figure.

France to count happiness in GDP

By Ben Hall in Paris

Published: September 14 2009 15:48

Happiness, long holidays and a sense of well-being may not be everyone’s yardstick for economic performance, but Nicolas Sarkozy believes they should be embraced by the world in a national accounting overhaul.

France’s president on Monday urged other countries to adopt proposed new measures of economic output unveiled by a panel of international economists led by Joseph Stiglitz, the US Nobel Prize winner.

Mr Sarkozy, who set up the Stiglitz-led commission last year, said the world had become trapped in a “cult of figures”.

Insee, the French statistics agency, would set about incorporating the new indicators in its accounting, Mr Sarkozy said.


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Responses

  1. Please, don’t pay attention to Sarkozy. It is really embarrassing he represents France. That country is more and more becoming the shadow of itself, with a very special thank you to that ugly, insane gnome.

    • So many of us had such high hopes for him when he entered office. I wonder what happened.

      • Well, do you know the Frankie song that goes “Oops there goes another rubber tree plant”… 🙂

        Placing high hopes in Sarkozy was a bit naive, I think, considering his very controversial background. Time has already shown (still processing) the man is up to no good. No good at all.

        Quite clearly, he is most probably the worst thing that has happened to France since a couple centuries. Without a shadow of a doubt, he is the worst president of the Vth Republic.

        You can come by and check a couple articles at my place about him…

      • Thanks, DMD. I will check that out.


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