A brilliant new idea has broken onto the front pages on how to improve the national mood: let's just have the State declare that national happiness has been achieved. Here's how the French are doing it -
From FT: "France to Count Happiness in GDP - Happiness, long holidays and a sense of well-being may not be everyone’s yardstick for economic performance, but Nicolas Sarkozy believes they should be embraced by the world in a national accounting overhaul. France’s president on Monday urged other countries to adopt proposed new measures of economic output unveiled by a panel of international economists led by Joseph Stiglitz, the US Nobel Prize winner. Mr Sarkozy, who set up the Stiglitz-led commission last year, said the world had become trapped in a “cult of figures”.
"One consequence of the commission’s proposed enhancements to gross domestic product data would be to improve instantly France’s economic performance by taking into account its high-quality health service, expensive welfare system and long holidays."
And here's how Bhutan does it: "Bhutan has warned its citizens over cutting down thousands of young trees every year to make prayer flags, a threat to the tiny kingdom’s lush scenery and the government’s duty to bring “Gross National Happiness”. Himalayan Buddhists put up prayer flags for good luck or to help the dead find the right path to their next life. The more flag poles put up for the departed the better, and Buddhist monks say fresh poles must be used each time.
Having failed to convince its citizens to switch from wood to steel for prayer flags, the government of the Himalayas’ last Buddhist kingdom is growing bamboo, which it hopes will be an attractive alternative. "The pressure on forest is from all sides – from flagposts to hydropower. We are discussing this every day,” agriculture secretary Sherub Gyaltshen, said.
Bhutan’s constitution, which emphasises the importance of Gross National Happiness over Gross Domestic Product, stipulates the country must have at least 60 per cent forest cover.
Himalayan Buddhists believe winds will carry positive vibrations of tantric symbols written on the prayer flags in yellow, green, red, white and blue to represent the five elements, and 108 prayer flags are put up when someone dies."
Can it be long before La Grande Bouche declares that the US GDP numbers will be adjusted for the "benefits" of his National Health Care plan ?
Why not ? The US already adjusts GDP and the CPI for the "value" of alleged safety and environmental mandates. So why not for that squishy feeling of security that the nanny state will provide ... as long as you obey it.
The official new name for my most aggressive fund is The 1-2-3 Fund. It's named after that boxing staple, the 1-2-3 combination of punches, viz., a snappy left jab, a powerful straight right and the finishing left hook: by punch numbers, it's 1-2-3. The 1-2-3 Fund is doing OK on its options book ... so far.
By the way in French, the fund's name will be the Bonjour Fund, as idiom in French uses "simple comme bonjour" for "simple as 1-2-3"
Word of the Day
"Euphony" - noun [$10]
Euphony means 1.a. a pleasant of sound, especially of a word or phrase; harmony; 1.b. a pleasant sound; 2. a tendency to make a phonetic change for ease of pronunciation.
Sentence: Perhaps the new National Health Plan will mandate that we all start the day with some euphony by saying "ommmmmmmmmmmm" as we thank heaven for the new god that has entered the pantheon, viz., Ted Kennedy.
Le Mot du Jour
"Heureux, -euse" - adjective
Heureux means (after noun) 1. a. happy; b. pleased; (before noun) 2. fortunate, lucky, propitious.
La Phrase: Obama dit, "ne vous inquiétez pas, soyez heureux."
Sentence: Obama says, "don't worry, be happy."