Cielito Habito on the “recession” and how we measure happiness

Just saw this.  Prof. Habito says in effect that GDP is “just a number.”  All the fans of Nassim Taleb agree, including yours truly.

Filipinos can also be inventive.  Perhaps we can make a new statistic, unique to the Philippines.  Call it Fine Domestic Breath, or FDB.  Why?  In Pilipino, it would be Mainam na Ginhawang Sariling Bayan, or MGSB (courtesy of entries in Leo English’s Dictionary).

And how would we compile it?  We would count laughter twice, tears once, and ignore the WTFs and bilious ad hominem blather of the blogosphere.  We would exclude measurement of foreigners who have no idea what Lupang Hinirang means, but include those who know at least 10 local words not including “San Miguel.”

But it’s largest component is psychological and philosophical.   That would be the number of local residents who have no substantive complaints against corporate social responsibility, public services (both local and national), disappearing cell phone load, ubiquitous Al Gore-type moralists, and religious leaders.  Then we would add the fraction of the population who consider themselves healthy.

We then track that number weekly using a sample determined by the “random manual audit” rule in the Automated Elections Law.  It may well be the closest equivalent to an economic libertarian’s version of a happy and free GDP, but adapted to the local environment.

Next time you meet a self-possessed economist or serial sociologist, ask him about MGSB.  He might think you’re talking about MSG! (Personally, I prefer the MGA to the Mini Cooper, but hey, what do I know?)

Who said Austrians can’t be Filipinos?  Or is it the other way around?

P.S. There is a world database that ranks countries according to happiness.  Out of 144 countries, the Philippines ranks in the high middle (around 54th from the top), about the same as China but happier than India and South Korea.  Not bad.  There is something to the Filipino’s ability to be happy after all, or despite all.  But maybe that database is now out of date.  It is also possible that the happiness can end just like that (like Don McLean’s Bye Bye Miss American Pie).


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