Letters to the Editor

Maybe measuring happiness would be better

Americans put a lot of emphasis on growing the economy. The gross domestic product (GDP) represents the value of goods and services produced within a nation. USA has an average annual increase of 3 percent over the last 60 years.

But we still have millions living in poverty, low wages and household median income, increased health care costs. Education has fallen behind other countries and crime is all around us.

Maybe Americans should put more emphasis on happiness. We could call it the American Happiness Factor (AHF). Maybe along with the U.S. census ask questions about how satisfied are you with your life. For example, are you getting enough health care? Are your children happy and accelerating in school? Are you happy with your living quarters and do you feel safe walking alone at night? Do you think the groceries you buy are safe?

GDP is not a good indicator of improved lifestyles. The BP oil spill increased the GDP by spending money to stop the leak. If you want to raise the GDP, make all the traffic lights in the country stay red 30 seconds longer and the green lights shorter. We would purchase more gas but people would become stressed and agitated.

Maybe we need to address population. Predictions of doubling the population in 50 years might mean we need to double GDP. There must be a stopping point and humans need to change their thought patterns. Happiness is not measured by money.

William Linville