Study after study has shown that those who live with children are less satisfied with their lives than those who do not. Is there something wrong with these empirical analyses? Or is it that happiness measures are unreliable? This column argues that the results are correct but that comparisons of the wellbeing of parents and non-parents are of no help at all for people trying to decide whether to have children.
The mad pursuit of corporate profits is threatening us all. To be sure, we should support economic growth and development, but only in a broader context: one that promotes environmental sustainability and the values of compassion and honesty that are required for social trust.
Should the public care about financial imbalances? This column suggests that financial imbalances are, in fact, not a main and direct concern for citizens. Of course, this does not exonerate policymakers from trying to prevent booms and busts (because they have substantial costs in terms of macroeconomic stability). Policymakers should focus on preventing the fallout of booms and busts for macroeconomic stability rather than trying to stabilise the ‘financial cycle’ as an end in itself.
European policymakers have finally recognized the severity of their youth-marginalization problem. But, just over the horizon, there looms another social catastrophe that they have yet to acknowledge; this time, it is middle-aged workers who are poised to suffer.
Because of continuing increases in life expectancy, the number of eligible retirees is rising more rapidly than the tax revenue available to finance public pension benefits. The best solution would be to enact legislation that keeps constant the average life expectancy at the eligibility age for full benefits.
The IMF is an immensely useful organization, able to deliver substantial amounts of financial and technical assistance at short notice to almost any place in the world. It also has the great advantage of almost always being perceived as incredibly boring.