Economy of happiness
What am I doing here? What are we doing in this life?
These are very profound questions. They are so deep that probably cannot be fully answered. Nevertheless, to ask such questions can help to have at least a superficial clarifying answer.
Without becoming too metaphysical we can assert at least that after being born and before we die, we exist. Along our lives our existence follows two basic features: our inner world and the world outside which surrounds us. To find a reason for living you must find a reason for existing in the inner and in the outer world.
Let's start with what is closest to us: our inner existence. That is our life inside of us, under our skin. Let's think about what makes sense for our inner life. You will probably find different reasons. Feelings, desires, challenges.. you know better. Try to see if any of such reasons is based on searching or reaching happiness.
We could say that without happiness our inner existence - as well as anybody else's - does not really make much sense. Therefore, happiness is a feature which help our inner existence make sense. There can be more features but we have already found one and we are satisfied with it. Let's go on.
Let's observe our existence in the external world and our life in our surroundings. Since your inner life requires happiness, the possibility that the outer world can also lead you to happiness can be one of the reasons for your outer existence. This way, the outer world exists to make you happy and the external actions which lead you to happiness make sense.
If your consciousness were the only existing consciousness and the outer world were an endless source for happiness, it would not be necessary to go any further. In such a case, we would have already valid answers. But it is obvious that you are not the only living being in the world. There are also good reasons to think that external resources which can lead us to happiness are limited.
Our individual existence develops itself in surroundings shared by groups of people. Resources in such surroundings are also limited. Everyone of us has the right to reach his/her inner happiness. But as human beings we are characterized by a historic tendency of satisfying our needs for happiness by taking it away from other people.
Such a tendency became stronger when we started to think that happiness meant to possess material objects, material resources and have material power. Even though, economic calculations based on capitals (material, tangible and quantifiable capitals) must include more and more immaterial, intangible and non quantifiable elements. All these intangible variants have a common ground: desiring and reaching happiness.
Nowadays economy as whole moves around money. Lots of time in our lives is spent to have and spend money. But money is nothing else than a bilateral contract by means of which a party - the money issuing party - endorses a certain capacity of action from the other party - the money holder-. This capacity of action is measured according to the value money is given by the market.
Classic economics reminds us that money is worth nothing if the issuing party and/or the market fails. But in such analysis there is no worry for a failing money holder. Reality shows statistically that money holders fail when they believe that making money is a reason for their lives or that it comes first than reaching happiness. There are many "lucky" people, who have lots of money but who are unhappy, too. As well as many "poor" people who are unhappy because of not succeeding in making money.
There has been no single economist capable to show that material richness has a value, which can be converted into happiness. On the other hand, economists of the last generation are discovering what many smiling people, economically poor but emotionally rich, have shown for centuries: happiness does lead to richness.
It is worth to explore economic possibilities which do not require an imperfect and limited interface, with no intrinsic value, such as money. On the other hand, happiness is the perfect interface. It is both a means and a goal as well. This means represents itself a high value for everyone of us. Such a value lets our lives make sense.
Instead of gold, happiness is a value which can reproduce itself without being taken away from anybody. It is almost like the philosophy stone sought by alchemists. A small individual doses of happiness can generate huge individual doses of happiness. Individual happiness can generate group happiness. By doing so, many different people can agree upon multilateral co-operation, which will allow them to have a specific capability to carry on an action. In principle, that is a contract similar to the one made with the use of money. Even though it is quite different because every participant can count on the capability of a specific action, even if he/she does not have money and yet he/she can reach happiness, too.
Catalysing highlights which will help maintaining happiness are spontaneity, inspiration, learning, freedom, transparency, exchange, passion, accomplishing our dreams. Just the same features we have spoken about in chaos that makes sense, heterogeneous networks, free information and co-operative work.
Such features, described as residual features by classic economics, are the bases of the economy for happiness. Such economy will be based on the individual effort made by all those willing to co-operate by bringing in their extra capabilities, experience, time, resources and so on to reach happiness. Such happiness is genuine. It is not taken away from anybody, nor is it paid by somebody we depend upon. This is happiness produced by ourselves for our inner life. It is also shared with our outer world.
An economy for happiness does not have to be counter-productive in an capital-run economy. On the contrary, classic economics demands more and more doses of intangible elements. People involved in an economy for happiness, such as employees, free-lancers, contractors and so on can be twice as capable as those who are not. This can be seen just by taking a look at the most dynamic fields of the actual economy, as well as the way confidence is being handled and how efforts are being compensated.
Some examples among many of them can be:
- Passion has a very high value in a passionless enterprise world. If a person learns to canalize his/her passion and to revert it productively in the projects where he/she is involved, his/her surroundings will not let such a thing unnoticed.
- Access to remunerated jobs is being decided less and less according to academic titles and more and more according to experiences and conveyed confidence. If during your free hours you work very closely to other professionals, they will know more about you than if you tell them anything. Someday there will be a vacant job and your name will appear on the list of candidates.
- Working with people one does not know is a good way to learn new things. Getting to know other people is a good way to enlarge one's horizons and acquire a wider perspective.
- If you are generous and enjoy helping who needs your help, do not get surprised when you need something and somebody helps you. Do not get surprised either if people who watch your generosity trust you and convey such trust to other people who do not know you.
- If you do not hesitate to explain to the others what you know, it is easy that those who surround you know that you know and act consequently. There has always been a demand for people who know. Such a demand has grown incredibly in the last years.
- If you learn to work in a place with the solely rules of self-responsibility, respect and common sense, it is very possible that you know how to handle properly team decentralized work, characterized by a fast evolution.
- If you are happy, generous, passionate. If you have experience and convey confidence to the others. If you explain what you know, it is difficult that the classic economy can ignore you.
If you are interested in playing with it, all you need is just get surrounded by the right people and make the right steps. Interactors can be a good starting point where all this theory can be put into practice. Interactors can contribute to let our lives make sense, as well. And even if it will not be so, it is worth to try it. The most amusing thing about walking is... just that: walking.
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