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Analytical Review - Book Report/Review Example

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The Politics of Happiness ‘’Whoever said that money cannot buy happiness simply did not know where to go shopping’’ –Derek Bok. Perhaps Bok meant that happiness could be within us that money indeed can buy happiness, that money itself is achievable and likely so is happiness…
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Download file to see previous pages There is no denying that he therefore, suffices as one of the very few wise people in our celebrity-driven public life. The politics of happiness’ main proposition is that measuring people wellbeing to provide meaningful results. It is based on this that Bok argues that governments should adopt the results of wellbeing research and in consideration of existing economic measures to guide policy-making in a country. He further avails plenty of examples of how existing policies in the U.S could be changed to increase its citizens’ wellbeing. In this book, Bok simply provides a challenge to the deeply ingrained political and economic orthodoxy on how to calculate or rather measure progress. The book sets of with a review of the present research on wellbeing. It is so impressive that expert and frequent researchers on wellbeing could learn some new techniques from this chapter. However the suggestion that the term ‘happiness’ would be used synonymously with phrases such as ‘wellbeing’ and ‘satisfaction with life’ is a downside as philosophers would argue that the entomology of the meanings the nature of happiness-what happiness really is and wellbeing- what ultimately is good for a person are very different. This therefore, when conducting research, the distinct philosophical origins of these terms and the various research questions that use them emerge to be imperative when comparing the results of wellbeing survey. Take an example of many surveys using different questions to test for wellbeing. This would inevitably result in conflicting conclusions about important matters such as who is happy and who is not, and what makes one be happy. Bok succeeds in the research techniques but has a shortcoming in persuading the reader that the use of various words synonymously with happiness would bring forth relatively reliable statistics upon which policies can be aligned with. But such skepticism is especially called for when it is a matter of policy being addressed here, so it is one thing for a social scientist to be wrong in their studies, for other studies will most likely eventually discover what is right and remedy appropriately. That is perhaps why Bok urges caution as he is aware of the ultimate difficulty of absorbing unreliable statistics to form the basis of a policy change exercise. Bok now goes ahead to analyze the reliability of research on wellbeing. He dispels an array of the weaknesses to the reliability of research, for instance he discusses why we cannot rely on traditional economic indicators such as the level of employment. He supports survey on happiness thus, ‘’the results of happiness studies seem, if anything more reliable than many familiar statistics and other types of evidence that legislators and administration officials routinely use in making policy’’ (pg40) Bok again fails to adequately back up this as his defense on the reliability of research on wellbeing rests heavily on the correlations between different measures of happiness, these are self-assessments of life satisfaction, consensus opinions about how happy a neighbor is, tendency to smile and brain scans. Focusing on the correlations’ significance Bok disregarded their sizes and this could have had a much positive inclination to his argument. A highly significant but minute correlation for example, could be an indicator that the two measures are likely to be related in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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