The Happy Economist: Happiness for the Hard-Headed

By Ross Gittins | Go to book overview

8
THE ECONOMY AND THE
ENVIRONMENT

What have future generations ever done for me?

— An economist we must hope was joking

How do you picture the economy? If you had to depict it with a drawing or a diagram, what would it look like? I suspect that, after giving it some thought, most people would depict the economy as a box in which businesses on one side produced goods and services that they sold to households on the other. The households would pay for the goods and services they consumed mainly by selling their labour to the businesses doing the producing. Certainly, that’s the way economists have schooled us to think of the economy: an endless round of production and consumption.

Now let’s say you’re asked to add the environment to the diagram—how would you do it? I think most people would just draw another box for it, maybe with arrows going between the two boxes. Again, that’s the way most economists think about it and have encouraged us to think about it. But in his

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The Happy Economist: Happiness for the Hard-Headed
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction- Happiness and Economics 1
  • Part One - Micro Happiness 7
  • 1 - What Is Happiness? 9
  • 2 - Evolution and Happiness 22
  • 3 - Who Is Happy? 39
  • 4 - Money and Happiness 69
  • 5 - Work and Happiness 98
  • 6 - How to Be Happy 132
  • Part Two - Macro Happiness 159
  • 7 - What’s Wrong with Economics 161
  • 8 - The Economy and the Environment 195
  • 9 - Towards the Happy Society 218
  • Bibliography 242
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