health human rights lifestyle politics

What really makes us happy?


The G20 has just promised $1.1 trillion to help shore up the global economy, posing for pictures under a big banner with the sun rising on a darkened world, and the words ‘stability – growth – jobs’.

Governments spend a whole lot of time encouraging and promoting ‘growth’, but we all know that life is more complex than economics. Wealth is only one factor in well-being. What if the government focused on the things that really make life worth living?


  1. Thanks for checking out Reach Forward!

    The more of us that write about development, the more people will read about it, the better our chances that people will take action!

    A shout-out has been posted for Make Wealth History.

  2. Great blog you’ve got! I’ve seen a bit different set of factors resulting in happiness by New economics foundation and have understood that kids ie. family actually increase stress even if we parents don’t dare to commit it. What do yoy think, do kids make us happier? I think so – usually :\

  3. Hi Jeremy,

    I have one question: was the survey taken among employed or unemployed people? 🙂 I mean when I look at it, it does not really resemble reality, does it? Isn’t it really a projection of what we would like to be, but we aren’t?

    This is from Obama’s recent speech:
    “There’s not a direct correlation between poverty and violence and conflict and terrorism, but I can tell you that if children have no education whatsoever, if young men are standing idle each and every day, and feel completely detached and completely removed from the modern world, they are more likely, they are more susceptible to ideologies that appeal to violence and destruction”.

    I guess having a job and a meaningful one at that, is a real blessing no matter what.

  4. Yes, nef have a slightly different breakdown, and so does Richard Layard in his book on happiness. It all depends on your circumstances in life too – if you’re unemployed you’re likely to be more than 2% less happy! I’d say it’s impossible to put percentages on what makes us happy in any specific sense, but it’s useful as a comparative exercise.

    The overall point is that there are more important aspects to wellbeing than money.

Leave a Reply to Zbigniew Szalbot Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: