The Pursuit of Happy

What price [to put] on happiness? French president Nicolas Sarkozy is seeking an answer to the eternal question — so that happiness can be included in measurements of French economic growth.

He’s turned to two Nobel economists to help him, hoping that if happiness is added to the count, the persistently-sluggish French economy may seem more rosy.

Just imagine the public opinon polling that that approach will beget:

French Opinion Pollster: Good day, sir, I’d like to get your opinion on the French economy. Do you mind answering a few questions?

Impoverished French Drone:

Opinion Pollster: Sir?

French Drone: I beg your pardon.

Pollster: Would you mind answering a few questions about your personal financial condition and overall state of happinesss?

Drone: Of course not, why shouldn’t I be happy?

Pollster: Well, of course, sir, you shouldn’t, I mean, you should be happy, but that’s what we’d like to find out. Are you happy?

Drone: Yes, of course, why shouldn’t I be happy?

Pollster: So, then, you are employed?

Drone: Oh, no. I haven’t really worked in years.

Pollster: Then your income…

Drone: I receive unemployment payments. I also share a small flat with several other men and women.

Pollster: Your expenses…

Drone: A good friend works at a busy cafe and brings to me plates of unused food.

Pollster: But you are happy, are you not?

Drone: But of course. I have a wonderful girlfriend. A boyfriend. My youth. Only this year I turned 54. For what reasons would I not be happy?

Pollster: Thank you for your time, sir, I hope I’ve not inconvenienced you. Good day.

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