A provocative look at an area few economists dare to tread, by Australia's most read economic commentator.
Most economists are obsessed with financial and economic measures, but not Ross Gittins. In The Happy Economist he mounts a provocative and persuasive case for a different approach. He argues that happiness is our most important measure of economic success.
Distilling the practical wisdom from all the recent scientific study of happiness by psychologists and economists, Ross claims that happiness isn't about maintaining a forced smile or a self-centred concern to maximise pleasure and minimise pain, but about living a satisfying life of endeavour, achievement and mutually rewarding relationships. Most of us are happy most of the time, but there is more we could do to increase our satisfaction. And a different approach by governments - with less emphasis on economic growth and efficiency, and more on preserving the planet and the social fabric - could add to 'national happiness'.
The Happy Economist is a bold and insightful look at an area few economists dare to tread. It may even change your life.
Ross Gittins is the Economics Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald and an economic columnist for The Age and The West Australian. He is a winner of the Citibank Pan Asia award for excellence in financial journalism and has been a Nuffield Press fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge, and a journalist-in-residence at the Department of Economics at the University of Melbourne. Ross is frequently called upon to comment on the economic issues of the day and has written and contributed to many books and periodicals. His most recent book was Gittinomics (Allen + Unwin, 2007).