For quite some time, I’ve been saying that research effort into the economics of happiness would be better devoted to researching unhappiness. I’ve now presented this argument in the excellent online magazine Aeon, with the takeaway
So, perhaps we need a new research programme, to examine how unhappiness really works. Does hunger, or unemployment, or the loss of a family member to preventable illness make you a stronger and better person? Is striving after more and better possessions more fulfilling than satisfaction with what you have? It’s obvious from the way I’ve posed these questions what I believe the answer to be. But genuine research into the economics of unhappiness might yield some surprising answers to such questions as these, and reveal new questions that we have never before considered.