Politics of Fun

What can policy makers learn from the tons of research published each year telling us why or how people could become happier? The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert inquires.

What can policy makers learn from the tons of research published each year telling us why or how people could become happier? The New Yorker’s Elizabeth Kolbert inquires. A study from 1978, which compared the general happiness of a selection of lottery winners and a group of individuals who’d had debilitating accidents, found that at the time of the questionnaire the winners were no happier than the accident victims. "What should we do with information like this? On an individual level, it’s possible to stop buying lottery tickets, move back to Minnesota, and, provided the news reaches you in time, have your tubes tied. But there are more far-reaching societal implications to consider. Or so Derek Bok argues in his new book, "The Politics of Happiness: What Government Can Learn from the New Research on Well-Being" Bok, who served two stints as president of Harvard, begins with a discussion of prosperity and its discontents. Over the past three and a half decades, real per-capita income in the United States has risen from just over seventeen thousand dollars to almost twenty-seven thousand dollars... Yet, since the early seventies, the percentage of Americans who describe themselves as either ‘very happy’ or ‘pretty happy’ has remained virtually unchanged."

Understand your own mind and goals via bullet journaling

Journaling can help you materialize your ambitions.

Videos
  • Organizing your thoughts can help you plan and achieve goals that might otherwise seen unobtainable.
  • The Bullet Journal method, in particular, can reduce clutter in your life by helping you visualize your future.
  • One way to view your journal might be less of a narrative and more of a timeline of decisions.
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How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
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Car culture and suburban sprawl create rifts in society, claims study

New research links urban planning and political polarization.

Pixabay
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
  • Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
  • People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
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