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Nonsense on stilts, or meaningless surveys department

The New Economics Foundation("We believe in economics as if people and the planet mattered") has published a survey to which the BBC has given a gushing write up. The NEF has supposedly shown that Vanuatu is the happiest state on the planet, whereas we British types languish in 108th place. I decided to do a little digging to see whether they have anything that could reasonably be called a methodology, and found this. Can't say I'm exactly impressed by measuring happiness based on this 'equation':

HPI =
Life satisfaction x Life expectancy

Ecological Footprint


Here is its rather mealy mouthed attempt to define 'life satisfaction'


In order for any poll to have anything approaching statistical validity, one generally has to poll upwards of a thousand people. There is no note anywhere as to how many people were polled, but I very much doubt that they polled 1000 people in 178 countries, as even supposing it only cost £1 per pollee, we are talking about £178 000. Quite a lot of money for small think tank.

Beyond that, the sheer number of variables is immense - are people happier or less so at different times of the day, week, year etc etc, men, women, children etc etc etc. Where they live, what they do yadda yadda...

Meanwhile, if Vanuatuans are that happy, good luck to them, but I will not be presuming that they are, based on this rubbish.

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Blogger phone cam foolery said... 6:24 pm

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."  



Blogger phone cam foolery said... 6:24 pm

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.  



Blogger phone cam foolery said... 6:24 pm

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery."  



Anonymous Verity said... 7:33 pm

Nothing wrong with 108. It's the sacred Buddhist number.  



Anonymous rigger mortice said... 7:38 pm

you really do offer variety on your blog Croydonian.Bit o politics,bit o french politics and every now and then a bit o bollocks.If the BBCs backing it,I don't believe it.

Is there some tag line that ten more years of Bliar and we'll be in the top ten?  



Blogger Croydonian said... 8:28 pm

Thank you people.

RM - I do what I can to entertain / divert the people (and me, natch), so if I'm succeeding, that's good.  



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