Warren Buffet and the Economic Standard talk about, wait for it…happiness!

Warren Buffet and the Economic Standard talk about, wait for it…happiness!

by Anjana Menon for the Economic Standard (India)

Warren Buffett, glided in and out of dining halls and conversations — real and imagined for three whole days. Anyone looking for the smartest investing tip or hoping he would give corporate India’s philanthropic bones a good shake missed the imprint of his visit. His abiding message is something meatier than that. It is about being, quite simply, a happier person. The rest, it seems according to Buffett philosophy, will follow.

Buffett’s oft-repeated anecdote in response to how he defines happiness and the feel-good factor is the story of a Polish Jew forced into a concentration camp with her family. While she survived, the rest were less lucky. Asked how she measures friends, she said, “I am slow to make friends because when I look at people, I have one question in mind — would they hide me?” Buffett says if you have a lot of people that would hide you, then you can feel pretty good about how you’ve lived your life. And he’s quick to add that he knows scores of A-listers who would not be hid even by their own children.

While we get caught up in the galloping economic growth numbers, the comparison with China’s blistering growth rates, the aggressive ambition of our business houses and rising national income, we may risk losing out on another very important parameter, the measure of a nation’s health — the happiness and well-being quotient. In fact, the Easterlin economic theory says that once basic needs are met, which is certainly lagging in India, happiness at a national level does not increase with wealth.

Many countries are taking the quest for happiness quite seriously. Several societies large and small are starting to come to terms with the fact that gross domestic product is an inadequate measure of development and prosperity, and that society should also deeply care about the well-being of citizens…

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