MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

How to Improve a Nation's Overall Sense of Contentment

Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, Nov 21, 2012 @ 10:42 AM


Some of the world’s leading economist’s have discovered something that is especially relevant as we get ready for Thanksgiving.

Professor Richard Layard who teaches at the London School of Economics and Political Science and runs The Centre for Economic Performance, one of the world’s leading economic research centers in London, has found that a balanced approach to a fiscal deficit not only balances the budget, it also improves a nations overall sense of contentment.

He found two characteristics that are actually crucial to our sense of economic well being - and they have nothing to do with dividing society between makers and takers.

People are happier if they are compassionate; they are happier if they are thankful.

When life gets rough, these qualities become ever more important. Professor Layard says that more wealth hasn't made us happier, and more individualistic, competitive societies can actually make us unhappy. With too much avoidable suffering in our society and too little contentment, we need to find a better way to live, according to Layard, and in order for a society to be happy, individuals must get their happiness from helping others.

Professor Layard draws compelling insights from scientific evidence along with age-old spiritual and ethical practices, to show us how we can work together to become better parents, partners,colleagues and citizens. "We have the potential to create a society in which the greatest happiness of humankind is our main priority." Check out this short video discussing happiness by Professor Layard.

And if you need more convincing why it’s important to live with an attitude of gratitude, please check out Dr. Andrew Weil’s ‘good reasons to give thanks', and read how gratitude is beneficial to your overall physical health.

Compassion and gratitude - what better way to celebrate Thanksgiving and to shape the budget negotiations that must be resolved by the end of the year.


Photo credit http://www.flickr.com/photos/shannonkringen/