Monday, March 20, 2017

World Happiness Report 2017

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World Happiness Report 2017


Ralph Musgrave said...

It's "totally bizarre statistic" time:

The worlds 5 happiest countries have no minimum wage:

Bob said...



Tom Hickey said...

Worstall: "Sure, it could be only correlation instead of causation."

The top five happiest are Norway, Denmark, Iceland Switzerland and Finland. Sweden also has no national minimum wage.

Mostly Scandinavian countries operating on the Swedish or Scandinavian socio-economic model that emphasizes social democracy.

The 10 most socialistic countries in the world.

New Zealand

Could it be the socialism?

Tim Worstall is a buffoon.

Tim Worstall said...

9 of the 10 in that list aren't socialist in the slightest. So perhaps it's not me that is the buffoon?

Socialism is about the ownership of the means of production, not how large the welfare state is. Sheesh.

Tom Hickey said...

An objection can be made that socialism is about the ownership of the means of production, not how large the welfare state is.

But that is a a narrow definition of socialism that doesn't correspond to the ordinary language use in the United States, which defines socialism in terms of government participation in the economy rather than state ownership of means of production

In the US, "the welfare state" is equated with socialism and welfare programs are regard as socialistic. The Swedish or Scandinavian model is considered socialistic here, as in the link above.

The chief argument in America against universal health care funded by the federal government is, "That's socialism." And that is without the government actually operating the health care system as is the case with the British system as I understand it. Under single payer in the US the government would be paying private contractors.

The use of "socialism" may be different in the UK, and it is possible that Tim Worstall is not aware of the American usage, which I was employing.

But taking the narrow definition, excludes just about all countries other than the People's Republic of China and North Korea, and these countries are consider communist in the West rather than socialist.

The question is how "happiness" was measured, e.g., the principal criteria and parameters of the study.

From the countries that scored highest on the list, the common characteristics seem to be level of development and the predominance of welfare over market-based policy.

Regarding a minimum wage law, many in the US consider it socialistic owing to government intrusion in the market but not a matter of welfare since it doesn't involve government funding as does unemployment benefits and other assistance involving fiscal transfers.

The effect on happiness of a minimum wage would have to be studied separately. It seems intuitively that a minimum wage law would increase happiness at the bottom end, since everyone loves a wage, but decrease it at the top end that has to pay the wage bill. If it could be shown that a minimum wage law increased prices, then probably many people would be less happy at higher prices.

But the fact is that minimum wage laws are not directly addressing "happiness," but rather fairness. When workers are not paid a living wage that raises them above the poverty line, then they qualify for welfare transfer payments, which become a subsidy paid to firms hiring them. A big issue in the US is the government subsidizing giant firms like Walmart to lower costs by subsidizing wages.

There might be an argument regarding public purpose if the goal was to lower prices for the public while providing low cost workers and the public making up the difference through the subsidy. But the subsidy is instead going to increase profits and management compensation.

An obvious way to address this is through a public option that competes wages down to a level at which compensation is above the poverty line. Then firms have to compete against that compensation rate to draw workers from the buffer stock of employed. This establishes the floor wage as a living wage. That is a purpose of a job guarantee.

Bob said...

His post completely vanished. How can that be?
He linked to an article that explained the irrelevance of a minimum wage when most workers are covered by collective agreements.

I agree with the Thomas Sowell quote: The minimum wage is zero.

Until there is a JG or full employment, his claim is correct.

Tom Hickey said...

Bob wrote:

His post completely vanished. How can that be?

It got dumped into spam for some reason. I fished it out. I had seen it on the RSS feed.


Trade unions are considered "socialistic" in the in the US since they depending on labor legislation and collective bargaining.

Six said...

I think when the words in a discussion mean something other than what they mean, the conversation quickly devolves into idiocy. When we discuss "socialized health care!", but in reality we are discussing socialized health insurance, the discussion is nonsense from the start. Socialism is socialism and welfare is welfare, etc. Obviously.

Bob said...

Socialists would consider welfare to be table scraps.