A recent study by Oxford University’s Saïd Business School has demonstrated a link between happiness and productivity. It found that workers are 13% more productive when happy.
Over an extended period, the researchers monitored call center sales workers in the UK, whom they instructed to record their life satisfaction every week. Call centers generate a wealth of data for sales per hour for each employee, and this can be tested for correlation with happiness.
One of the authors of the study, Dr. Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, said that they found that “when workers are happier, they work faster by making more calls per hour worked and, importantly, convert more calls to sales.”
The correlation was so statistically significant that a causal connection must exist. But what if it is more sales that make people happy, not the other way around? They thought of this possibility and used a third variable to check this, namely the weather. Not surprisingly, happiness research shows that people are happier when the weather is nice.
Since the weather is independent of sales, but not of happiness, they could use it to determine the direction of causality. If increased income from sales makes people happier, productivity should not be influenced by the weather. If, however, happy people are more productive, they should show higher sales when the weather is nice.
They used call centers from a variety of geographical locations and constructed a Bad Weather Index, which they cross-correlated with sales and happiness. Sure enough, when the weather was bad, productivity fell because people were less content.
It is good that people are satisfied with life. Even better: It makes them more productive. If there were a way of increasing happiness in the population, one could also reap the benefits in the form of economic growth. Fortunately, one such way is well-documented, albeit not so well-known: Economic freedom.
Numerous studies, both globally between nations and locally within them, have shown a clear and persistent relationship between how economically free a country is and the life satisfaction of its populace. It turns out that people do not like to be repressed by taxes and regulations. If they are free to pursue their happiness, they are more likely to achieve it.
If your goal is a happy population, you would, therefore, embrace a liberalization of the economy. However, not everyone shares this goal. In his most recent book, The Madness of Crowds, author Douglas Murray shows that during the 1980s Reagan era, the radical left felt that the middle class had betrayed the socialist project by getting fat ’n’ happy and they, therefore, needed to look for other groups to further their scheme. It was during this era that socialism transitioned from economics to identity politics. Race, gender, and identity would become the main soil for fertilizing discontent.
The logic is simple: Unhappiness is the vehicle of revolution. Those who are satisfied do not want to change. For the peddlers of radical transformation, instilling grief and strife in the population is, therefore, of paramount importance.
If we combine all these data points, we can conclude that the radical left does not have good intentions. Happy people are of no use to them to further their dream of a socialist utopia.
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