France is following Buthan’s example and wants to add “happiness” as an indicator to calculate its GDP. Sarkozy, the ever innovative one, wants to push this idea at the G20 meeting. Other new indicators would include access to healthcare, well-being and leisure time.
This would reduce the gap between US and France’s GDP per capita.
Speaking today on the Lehman-anniversary and ahead of the G20, the AP reports that Sarkozy said: “A great revolution is waiting for us. The crisis doesn’t only make us free to imagine other models, another future, another world. It obliges us to do so.”
All in all, adding a happiness parameter could be a good idea.The problem is that defining happiness and measuring do not seem like activities in which governments would excel.
What’s more, the timing seems a bit off.
As the Wall Street Journal reports today, French finance minister Christine Lagarde is requesting an extraordinary board meeting at France Telecom, to discuss the ongoing series of suicides at the 26%-governement owned company. The company has cut 22,000 jobs within the last three years, though only through attrition and without any layoffs, the WSJ says.
There have been 23 suicides at the company since February 2008, the most recent one occurring last Friday, when an employee threw herself through a window from her office building.
So maybe France isn’t quite as happy as it thinks.