Happy in Haiti
The Happy Planet Index is at it again! When your criteria on happiness is “measure what matters: the extent to which countries deliver long, happy, sustainable lives for the people that live in them”, you really must come up with some crazy crap, like this equation,
Which, translated into practical terms means that if you have very very low expectations and live for a long time without electricity or running water, you’ll score really high.
The Happy Planet Index hasn’t been composed by some lonely obsessive living with his mother and boring a very small number of readers in a rarely visited corner of the Internet. No, the Happy Planet Index has been produced by the New Economics Foundation, a think tank with an annual budget of more than $3.9 million and a staff of more than 50. They may be as mad as a box of frogs, but these people are well-funded and influential.
They are also playing with taxpayers’ money. One of the New Economics Foundation’s biggest donors in 2010-11—giving them more than $155,000—was the British government’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs paid more than $90,000 for another project in 2009 in which the New Economics Foundation produced a report—”Moments of change as opportunities for influencing behaviour”—which looked to Communist Cuba for an example of “mass efficiency improvement.”
Cuba, by the way, ranks 12th on the Happy Planet scale.
Reports like the Happy Planet Index claim to show us a different way of measuring success that “puts current and future well-being at the heart of measurement.” But there’s a reason Cubans regularly risk (and lose) their lives trying to escape their home country and make it to America, and there’s no waves of humanity flowing in the opposite direction. That the Happy Planet Index can’t capture those realities, or chooses to ignore them, suggests, well, that its authors are living on another planet.
No, just a planet with a well-funded agenda…in rooms with central heat; the NEF’s contact phone number is country code 44, for the United Kingdom & the Isle of Man.
They must be miserable!
Here’s the ranking:
8. New Zealand
12. Costa Rica
17. United Arab Emirates
18. United Kingdom