Google, Chief Business Officer, India discussed on BBC World Service
Is going to be really difficult and so on but hey you know focus on trees focus on your family attached to nature do some yoga do you find it patronizing absolutely patronizing she now lives in wales where she lectures in social policy as swansea university and studies the ways in which the terms well being and happiness used by governments when discussing policies when i first heard that new zealand was introducing wellbeing policy in a big way i really wasn't surprised after studying this for such a long time i can almost gas exactly what they're doing and she's not convinced does anything original they're just rebranding they simply rename what politics has always been about we've been trying to improve the welfare of people through the welfare state and so on for several decades if not essential in most countries won't this happiness talk really about she says is a way for governments to sell themselves the public in the absence of any new ideas in modern politics i think that's the key to understanding how well-being has become such a powerful phenomenon it's that we've absolutely given up on changing the world in real material ways and instead we seek to change the way people feel about the world and i think that's really really significant what it does is it transforms real structural and economic problems into problems of subjectivity of psychology and ashley worried about this shift because if the government concerns it self with our happiness it means they get to decide what makes us happy i am from the government and i'm here to make you happy that is very scary after send a chill down your spine because they don't want to just make you happy in the way that you feel that you would be happy they've already defined it they will tell you exactly what makes you happy one government claims to promote the happiness of its people it also lays claim to to meaning and proper pursuit and that should be left up to individuals so why does she think government would do that what they do is they subtly encourage deflection away from things like economic growth is what you're saying in a way by opting more wellbeing policies it's trying to deflect scrutiny from why countries haven't been successful as they could have been in terms of economic growth yes absolutely she pinpoints the move by governments promoting happiness over economic progress starting in the developing world when pro growth policies weren't working it'll stones she says with a series of reports produced by the world bank back in two thousand cooled voices of the poll so basically these researchers around the world and they talk to people on the ground and ask them sorts of things that contribute to wellbeing someone and what's interesting is they draw out all of these examples like poor about happy more or less you know always smiling they never ask people do you prefer wellbeing money and what's really sad about this is that if you read some of the quotes you know people were saying things like relatives dying because they hadn't been able to get medicine in time children having forgotten the taste of meat none of these issues can be solved by giving people a better sense of wellbeing they can be solved by improved economic circumstances She says it was this policy is a way of placating population that should rightfully be angry about this circumstances. what worries me about this is that there's a lot of this sort of just be happy with the way things are is basically saying look economies are going to grow they have to but you might not see the benefits of that that's really dangerous Should be placing our happiness in the government's hands in the first place. Part four. The equation. I've been very successful most of my life. I had achieved what most people power to achieve. i was literally depressed and like many of us in the modern world i couldn't find happiness in the traditional spiritual teachings or practices or yoga meditation they just didn't work for me This gal foam, a chief business officer of Google X, which looks into radical technologies. He had a big salary and dream job. But he wasn't happy and he wanted to know why. and so my research was all about what are the reasons that make us unhappy an how do revealed that his work resulted in the international bestseller so for happy he quit his job and now dedicates his life to making other people happy he even has a modest goal of reaching one billion people his own tsar a happiness surprisingly predictable You can sum it up in an equation. so your happiness is equal to or greater than the difference between the events of your life minus your expectations of how life should be The key is all about your expectations. so you could be in india benin new expectation from life is if i eat today that would be a good day and so you get all of rice with some carry on it and you're very very happy you could on the other hand in america you know your expectation is that the portions are going to be enormous The portion is a little less than what you expect even though you're going to throw half of it away. You're going to feel unhappy. you know i think people in the western societies especially in europe by the way they seem to think that there is some kind of a service level agreement with life it's like you've paid twenty pounds for the service so you should expect the service to be perfect all the time and life is sometimes going to be kind and sometimes going to be harsh how does this equation translate to governments should they even be thinking about happiness should governments strive to make us happy of course at the same time governments cannot make us happy i think the best they can ever do is to stop making us unhappy by that he means governments need to be transparent and provide for the basic needs of its people said that they're not on happy Interestingly, he does think linking happiness to economic prosperity is really important. sexually it's a very smart view in many studies humans are more productive when we're happy so happy people produce more that's expected because happy people don't waste cycles and complaining about things their colleagues like their customers like them and so on so he argues we're actually more economically productive as a nation if we're happy and the downside of unhappiness has negative economic consequences very high correlations between stress and depression and mental health issues and diseases like diabetes and other diseases which cost governments quite a lot in terms of productivity but also in terms of health care in the long term so it's actually the wise thing to do a happy citizen is that contributes more cost the government less and hopefully a citizen that can cultivate an environment where we all collaborate and do better can governments make us happy probably not that's down to the individual but what we do need governments to do is provide the conditions for us to feel happy without peace the rule of law a functioning democracy opportunities to flourish beaten work on health is a clean environment we would be unhappy may be governments will find that the smart thing to do is to stop focusing on g._d._p. and focus instead on wellbeing because happy people all more productive and guess what that would actually end up helping the economy grow This edition of the inquiry was presented by Kavita, Puri, and produced.