Happy Metro: Happiness can survive the blows of financial crisis

One professor explains why the economic crisis may not be making us unhappy.


Ruut Veenhoven has been studying happiness for over 25 years. This happy expert — a professor of sociology at Erasmus University in Rotterdam, director of the World Database of Happiness and author of Did the Crisis Really Hurt? — told Metro how the financial crisis will affect human happiness:


“Whether the financial crisis has made people less happy, one can only tell when the crisis is over. It’s not very likely, because the previous economic crisis didn’t have effects on happiness. I’m talking about the crisis between 1980 and 1982. That was a considerable recession with unemployment in the Netherlands increasing to half a million people.


“In 1989, a couple of colleagues and I did research on how this crisis had a negative effect on the happiness of the average citizen. There was hardly any effect. People were a little more worried about their income, but not less content with their lives as a whole.


“Furthermore, the sale of tranquilizers didn’t rise and doctors were not confronted with more patients with psychosomatic complaints. Of course, a crisis is never positive, but apparently mankind is strong enough to cope.”

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