Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

LQD: Buying Happiness

by technopolitical Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 02:48:59 PM EST

Research on money, spending, and happiness continues. The facts (as usual) undercut various prevailing ideologies. Consider the recent research report in the journal Science:

Spending Money on Others Promotes Happiness

Can money buy happiness? A large body of cross-sectional survey research has demonstrated that income has a reliable, but surprisingly weak, effect on happiness within nations (1, 2, 3), particularly once basic needs are met (4). Indeed, although real incomes have surged dramatically in recent decades, happiness levels have remained largely flat within developed countries across time (5). One of the most intriguing explanations for this counterintuitive finding is that people often pour their increased wealth into pursuits that provide little in the way of lasting happiness, such as purchasing costly consumer goods (6). An emerging challenge, then, is to identify whether and how disposable income might be used to increase happiness.

Ironically, the potential for money to increase happiness may be subverted by the kinds of choices that thinking about money promotes; the mere thought of having money makes people less likely to help acquaintances, to donate to charity, or to choose to spend time with others (7), precisely the kinds of behaviors that are strongly associated with happiness (8-12). At the same time, although thinking about money may drive people away from prosocial behavior, money can also provide a powerful vehicle for accomplishing such prosocial goals. We suggest that using money in this fashion--investing income in others rather than oneself--may have measurable benefits for one's own happiness.

As an initial test of the relation between spending choices and happiness...

Experimental methodology, etc., follows, and then some meat:

Promoted by Migeru

Read more... (22 comments, 769 words in story)

But what is 'collapse'?

by technopolitical Mon Jan 15th, 2007 at 02:19:29 AM EST

Comments often take for granted that "collapse" would be a natural consequence of severe climate change. But does this mean --

  1. "Economic collapse" comparable to the Great Depression?
  2. Collapse of civilisation to a pre-industrial level?
  3. Collapse of terrestrial ecosystems?
  4. Extinction of the human race?

Read more... (18 comments, 737 words in story)

UPDATED: "Shareholder value" is wrongly interpreted

by technopolitical Fri Dec 22nd, 2006 at 03:15:50 AM EST

Update [2006-12-23 2:44:13 by technopolitical]: New title above, whining below, diary boxed [now unboxed].

OK, that does it: under mild provocation, I'm mildly annoyed. The comments are wide-ranging and perceptive, but (at comments=32) are almost perfectly non-responsive to the idea presented in the diary. I'll try again later, perhaps with a better abstract.

Update [2006-12-23 18:20:13 by technopolitical] Much better -- Thanks!

Read more... (63 comments, 1176 words in story)

Cooling the Earth: CO2, SO2, and The Sunscreen Fix

by technopolitical Mon Oct 16th, 2006 at 11:26:00 AM EST

Climate, technology, and politics


  1. Reducing CO2 emissions will not reverse warming
  2. Nature has shown us that an SO2 sunscreen can reverse warming
  3. Creating an SO2 sunscreen appears to be low-harm and low-risk
  4. The sunscreen fix would be relatively inexpensive
  5. Pollution cleanup has been removing sunscreen
  6. The main problem with the sunscreen option?
  7. A toxic political dynamic has begun
  8. Conclusion

    back from the front page. - Jérôme

    Read more... (95 comments, 2564 words in story)

The Ocean Acid Problem

by technopolitical Wed Oct 11th, 2006 at 04:56:27 AM EST

There's more to the CO2 problem than warmth and weather. It's making the World Ocean more acidic, and ocean ecosystems are on track to be disrupted in ways that no one predict. With enough acid, shells and coral will dissolve.

Read more... (27 comments, 771 words in story)

Unkillable soldiers

by technopolitical Tue May 2nd, 2006 at 11:01:01 PM EST

Technological developments in the works will make the application of military force by rich democracies far easier. Some have argued that more boots on the ground would have enabled the US to stabilize/subjugate Iraq, and to do so with far less bloodshed than endless bombing campaigns. But soldiers are scarce and the prospect of dead soldiers discourages political leaders from deploying troops.

There is an expensive, experimental, clunky technology that will mature into machines that loosen these constraints. Now in prototype are "robot troops" -- actually, machines directed remotely by a person, with no intelligence needed in the box. Note gun:

Read more... (33 comments, 402 words in story)

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