So we have a situation in most modern economies (including Canada) where prosperity intensifies our connections, economic and personal, to the less secure countries of the world, and to their people.That's certainly part of it all right. But beyond Germany there is another concern: that of stagnating incomes. As today's Financial Times reports, stagnating incomes is the new spectre stalking the globe.
Reading reports from the United States (especially in relation to housing, unemployment and consumer spending) it reads remarkably like the situation we have in Ireland right now. Which makes it all the more ironic that our Minister for Finance was quoted recently quoting George W. Bush after 9-11: the people need to spend, spend, spend to avoid recession. Though I'm not sure the Minister attributed his quote as such...
I think Minister Noonan needs to focus less on economics and more on 'emonomics'. By the latter I mean using the insights from behavioural economics and evolutionary psychology to better understand the needs of the Irish people. The better to motivate them perhaps. The chart shows a mood league table for Ireland: ranking the emotions Irish people feel the most (from a survey by my company earlier this month). The good news: happiness and enjoyment are the most prevalent emotions - well ahead of more negative emotions like stress, worry and - er - boredom.
Though I'm usually loath to begin sentences with the words 'the Government should' (I'm in the less-is-better camp when it comes to all things political), I'll make an exception in this case. The Government should do a better job of understanding the emotional world of Irish citizens and a better job of communicating a better, credible image of the future that inspires all of us to do our bit. Not just more shopping.
The Futures Company have just published a useful primer on 'An Introduction to Happiness: Is It Your Business?' - even the busiest cabinet minister should be able to absorb its summary analysis.
Don't let angst and anxiety seize the emotional future.