Hasta la victoria siempre

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Daunatoarea prosperitate

Tim Kasser

Vom intelege cum capitalismul, chiar si atunci cand reuseste sa-si atinga telurile propuse, esueaza. Pentru simplul motiv ca scopurile urmarite cu obstinatie, daca nu chiar obsesie, de acest sistem, in speta cele materiale, nu corespund adevaratelor nevoi psihice umane, ba chiar le umbresc pe acestea. Tim Kasser explica aceste realitati in materialul sau Values and Prosperity. Sa-l urmarim pas cu pas.

Raspandirea materialismului promovat de capitalism
„We as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the
shift from a “thing-oriented society” to a “person-oriented society.” – Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Since the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. spoke these words in the late 1960s, it seems clear that Western societies, as well as large swaths of the developing world,
have ignored King’s call and instead become increasingly enamored of the materialistic values
that create a “thing oriented society.” What else might we conclude when news sources and politicians seem increasingly obsessed with economic growth rates and the latest ups and downs of the stock market? What else might we conclude from the increasing power of multi-national corporations, 52 of whom had amassed so much capital by the year 2000 that they competed with nations to be among the world’s 100 largest economic organizations? What else might we conclude from the fact that several hundred billion dollars are spent yearly in the U.S. on dvertising, enticing people to buy more and hinge their worth on their possessions? What else might we conclude from the fact that surveys of entering first-year U.S. college students show hat the percentage who consider it essential or very important to be “financially well-off” has gone from 42% in King’s time to approximately 75% today (Irvine, 2007)?”

Faptul ca averea a 52 de corporatii multi-nationale le plaseaza pe acestea in topul primelor 100 de economii din lume, cateva sute de miliarde de dolari sunt cheltuite anual pe publicitate numai in SUA, ca studentii americani considera din ce in ce mai mult ca bunurile materiale le sunt esentiale, arata ca societatea capitalista pune un accent extrem de puternic pe dobandirea de bunuri materiale si de averi.

Si totusi, acest bombardament neintrerupt de advertising si obiecte, desi marcheaza un succes economic, are efecte in cel mai bun caz nule, in cel mai rau caz negatice asupra buna-starii personale.

„If we consider that people’s well-being and happiness is an important, desirable feature of prosperity, we must confront two empirical facts. First, large scale studies in almost every economically-developed nation indicate that the large increases in economic growth and consumption since the early 1960s have been associated with no increase in people’s personal happiness. Second, dozens of studies document that the more individuals “buy into” the materialistic aspirations and goals encouraged by contemporary society, the lower their happiness and life satisfaction and the more they report being depressed, anxious, and unhappy.”

Asadar, studiile arata atat ca dezvoltarea si cresterea economiilor nu sporesc satisfactia personala, cat si ca aspiratiile materiale scad starea personala de fericire, materialistii fiind mai degraba deprimati, anxiosi si nefericiti. Efectele negative ale consumerismului capitalist nu se opresc aici, ci influenteaza in modul cel mai daunator si viata sociala si protectia mediului:

„And if we consider that close interpersonal and community connections are important
features of a successful society, we must again confront two empirical facts. First, as capitalism
and consumerism have infiltrated more aspects of culture, spreading their ideology of
individualism and self-interest, individuals have become more self-centered and less concerned
about the well-being of others and less involved in their communities. Second, research shows that those who take on the materialistic values encouraged by capitalistic, consumer society are less empathic, less cooperative, and more likely to view others as objects to be manipulated in order to get ahead in life.

And if our values lead us to care about whether or not the Earth will be able to sustain our grandchildren and great-grand-children (as well as other species) with clean air and water,
healthy food, moderate temperatures, and safe places to live, we must again note two empirical facts. First, environmental scientists have reached the conclusion that the high levels of consumption enjoyed by Western societies are not sustainable, as they destroy habitats and biodiversity, pollute the air and water, and are contributing to global climate change (United Nations Environment Programme, 2002). Second, research shows that the more that individuals make on the materialistic values encouraged by capitalistic, consumer societies, the more they personally consume, the less they engage in ecologically-responsible behaviors, and the higher their ecological footprints.”

Pe scurt, mania consumerista se traduce, in termeni sociali, prinegoism,dezinteres fata de ceilalti membri ai societatii si indiferenta, lipsa de implicare in viata comunitatii. Victimele propagandei capitaliste sunt mai putin empatici, mai putin cooperanti si predispusi la a vedea in aproapele lor un obiect pe care il manipuleaza in scopuri proprii. Totodata, stilul de viata Occidental nu poate fi sustinut de planeta, consumerismul si lacomia materiala ducand in practica la distrugerea de habitate, schimbari climatice, poluarea aerului si apei. Preocuparea cu cresterea personala a consumului devine inamicul comportamentului ecologic-responsabil.

Valori capabile sa sporeasca fericirea personala si buna-starea societatii
„(...) goals for financial success, image, and popularity tend to stand in opposition to three other “intrinisic” goals: Self-acceptance (which involves trying to grow as a person), affiliation (which involves having close, intimate relationships with family and friends), and community feeling (which involves trying to help the broader world be a better place). What this finding means is that the more people focus on materialistic aims for money, image, and status, the more difficult it is for them to also focus on growing as a person, intimately connecting with other people, and contributing to the world at large.

This finding about value conflicts is especially important because these intrinsic aims for self-acceptance, affiliation, and community feeling are also the very values and goals that empirical research demonstrates promote personal happiness, positive social involvement, and ecologically sustainable behavior. Specifically, studies show that happier people place a relatively high emphasis on goals for self-acceptance, affiliation, and community feeling; by caring about such aims, the research suggests that people become increasingly likely to create lifestyles for hemselves that satisfy the psychological needs required for psychological thriving. Other research suggests that people focused on these intrinsic goals treat others in more
humane, cooperative, and caring ways, thus benefiting others’ well-being. And finally, studies show that a strong focus on intrinsic goals also conduces to caring more about ecological sustainability and being less greedy with limited resources.”

Asadar, nu numai ca preocuparea cu propria imagine si popularitate, cu imbogatirea personala sunt incapabile de a spori fericirea, dar ele intra in conflict cu valorile intrinseci, demonstrate ca fiind adoptate de oamenii cu un grad de fericire mai ridicat, precum preocuparea cu dezvoltarea intelectuala si spirituala, sociabilitatea, implicarea in viata comunitatii, preocuparea cu binele comun, sporind astfel si fericirea altora.

Simplitatea voluntara, alternativa preferabila consumerismului capitalist
„(...) people express their values by rejecting the “work and spend” consumer lifestyle so dominant today. This trend, variously called “voluntary simplicity”, “cultural creatives”, and “downshifting”, describes a lifestyle in which individuals choose to live a materially simple, “inwardly rich” life unburdened by long work hours and uncluttered by many possessions.
Qualitative reports suggest that such individuals attempt to center their lives around developing their personal interests, spending time with family, volunteering in their community, engaging in personally-meaningful spiritual practices, and living in an ecologically light fashion. As such, it seems that the VS lifestyle provides an excellent prototype of a group of individuals who are trying to avoid materialistic pursuits and instead orient their lives around intrinsic goals.”

Simplitatea voluntara implica un stil de viata ce respinge goana dupa bogatii si munca in exces care o acompaniaza, concentrandu-se pe devoltarea pasiunilor proprii, vietii de familie, vietii in comunitate, ecologiei. Alegerea acestui stil de viata se dovedeste cu adevarat benefica:

„Indeed, the parallel between Voluntary Simplicity (VS) and our theoretical conceptualizations seemed so clear that Kirk Warren Brown and I conducted a study comparing a sample of 200 North American VS practitioners with 200 mainstream Americans matched to the VSrs on age, gender, and geographic location. Consistent with our expectations, the VS group scored substantially higher than mainstream Americans on the relative importance they placed on intrinsic vs. materialistic goals. Our analyses also revealed that VS practitioners were both significantly happier than mainstream Americans and were living in more ecologically sustainable ways. Particularly remarkable were our analyses (using Structural Equation Modeling) that demonstrated that a good deal of the reason why the VS groups were living more ecologically sustainably and were happier than mainstream Americans was that the VS group was more focused on intrinsic and less focused on materialistic values. Such results, though preliminary, are quite promising, as they suggest that when individuals create a lifestyle that is focused on intrinsic values rather than materialistic values, they not only live in more ecologically sustainable ways, but they are happier too!”

Adeptii simplitatii voluntare si downshifting-ului sunt deci dovediti ca fiind mai fericiti decat media, tocmai pentru ca acorda o atentie sporita valorilor intrinseci. Totodata, amprenta lor ecologica este drastic diminuata, ceea ce inseamna ca acest stil de viata este nu doar in armonie cu propria persoana, ci si cu natura.

Timpul liber
Cei care refuza sa intre in nebuneasca cursa dupa obiecte si bunuri materiale, popularitate, vedetism etc. se vor bucura si de o crestere a timpului liber. Cei care prefera insa munca in exces, vor intampina urmatoarele neajunsuri:
„While materialistic values, profit-driven capitalism, and consumerism have been quite successful in creating great material affluence for some, social commentators have noted that an unfortunate side effect has been an increase in “time poverty” for many. The helter-skelter attempt to make more money and consume as much as possible leads many individuals to work long hours and spend more time commuting; further, many businesses and governments implement policies that encourage (if not force) long work hours as a means of enhancing profit and economic growth.

The result is that many people find it quite difficult to pursue their intrinsic goals. For example, long work hours can crowd out the time people have to spend engaging in activities relevant to self-acceptance goals, such as pursuing personal hobbies, reflecting on life, and generally taking care of mind, body, and soul. Commentators also have noted that busy people seem to have less time for their spouses, friends, children, and even pets (deGraaf, 2003), thus reflecting the difficulty of pursuing affiliation goals. And when they experience time poverty, people often are less likely to do activities relevant to community feeling goals such as volunteering, voting, and engaging in behaviors that sustain the Earth.”

Refuzul de a munci in exces are, comfrom lui Kasser, urmatoarele beneficii:
„These observations suggest that another way to orient individuals and society towards intrinsic goals is to place the concept of “time affluence” on an equal footing with material affluence. Some research supports these ideas. For example, Kasser & Brown (2003) reported that life satisfaction was higher in individuals who worked fewer hours; Kasser & Sheldon (in press) expanded on these ideas in a series of four studies. Specifically, Kasser & Sheldon developed measures of material and time affluence to assess individuals’ subjective experience of whether they had enough money and enough time. Results showed that even after controlling for people’s subjective (and actual) wealth, individuals who felt more time affluent reported greater subjective well-being and happiness. What’s more, further analyses (using mediational tests) revealed that when people felt more time affluent, they were more likely to engage in activities that supported their intrinsic values, which in turn explained why such individuals were happier than less time affluent people.
Other research has demonstrated the ecological benefits of time affluence.”

Ce putem conclude din expunerea lui Kasser? Ca desi capitalismul a creat multe bogatii in anumite parti ale lumii, acestea sunt inutile si nu reprezinta decat resurse umane si naturale consumate fara o finalitate pozitiva; ca adeptii simplitatii voluntare, preocupati de valori precum devoltarea propriei personalitati, viata de familie, viata comunitatii, protejarea mediului, timp liber, relaxare, sunt mai fericiti si multumiti de viata lor decat cei manati de lacomia materiala, popularitate etc.; si ca, per total, capitalismul chiar si atunci cand reuseste sa-si atinga telurile, nu face decat sa esueze, deoarece scopurile promovate de acesta, precum consumerismul, vedetismul etc. nu doar ca nu sporesc fericirea, dar nu fac decat sa obtureze adevaratele valori, cele demonsdtrate ca sporind satisfactia personala si colectiva. Imbratisarea stilului de viata al simplitatii voluntare este benefic atat pentru noi ca persoane, cat si pentru societate in general si chiar pentru mediul inconjurator.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Averi, inegalitati si nefericire

Jean-Benoit Gregoire Rousseau este doctorand la Universitatea din Michigan. In materialul sau intitulat „Happiness and Income Inequality”, datat 17 nov. 2008, autorul explica de ce imbogatirea materiala a SUA nu a reusit sa produca o crestere corespunzatoare a fericirii populatiei (situatie cunoscuta in literatura de specialitate ca fiind „Paradoxul lui Easterlin: veniturile cresc, fericirea ramane constanta sau chiar scade): bogatia e incapabila sa sporeasca fericirea, iar inegalitatile sociale o erodeaza la randul lor.

Prezentarea generala a studiului:
„This paper shows that the lack of growth in average well-being, despite substantial GDP per capita growth, in the US is not a paradox. It can be explained by changes in the income distribution and the concavity of the happiness function. Since 1975 in the United-States practically all of the income gains that have accrued to households have gone to the richest 20%; income inequality has increased significantly over that period. A similar pattern can be observed in subjective well-being measures: the happiness gap between the rich and the poor has widened over the last decades. Happiness has stagnated for the rich and fallen for the poor. Formal analysis suggests that the happiness function can be approximated by a log-linear relationship and con rms that there is no satiation in the function. The analyses present corrections of the slope of the happiness function for taxes, the transitory nature of income and leisure. In the
US, 10 hours of weekly leisure have a similar eect on individual happiness as a 6.25% raise in income. Analysis of patterns in European countries confirms the crucial role of income inequality in the conversion of economic growth into aggregate well-being.”

Evolutia inegalitatilor:
„The dierence in happiness between the rich and poor was 0.602 of a standard deviation in 1973. It grew by 0.004 every year and reached 0.747 at the end of 2006. The happiness gap between the top and bottom income quintile grew by 15% of a standard deviation over that period.10 The gap between the middle and rich income group started at 0.217 in 1973 and grew by 0.004 every year to reach 0.346 in 2006, about 13% of a standard deviation.”

Concluzia studiului:
„This paper presents the Easterlin paradox under a new light and argues that the phenomenon
is consistent with standard economics. The lack of growth in aggregate happiness despite massive economic growth can be attributed to the fact that the relationship between income and happiness is concave, that the income gains have accrued disproportionably to the top income earners and that real incomes have fallen for the poor.
Over the last thirty-five years the happiness gap between the rich and the poor has widened in pair with income inequality. Although the relative income of the top earners has increased their happiness has not. Alternatively, happiness has fallen for the poor.
The analyses presented in this paper rejected the idea that there is a point of satiation in the well-being function and confirmed that the function is best approximated by the log-linear form.
Formal estimates of the well-being income gradient showed that in the US, 10 extra hours of weekly leisure has a similar efect on personal happiness as a 6.25% raise in yearly income.
Correcting for taxes has little efect on the estimated slope of the happiness function and surprisingly using permanent rather than transitory income lowers the gradient. Analysis of patterns in European countries also confirm the crucial role of income inequality in the conversion of economic growth into aggregate well-being.”

Pe scurt: „Also, not only has income inequality increased since the mid seventies but real income for the poorest two quintiles has dropped over that period. The observed happiness trends are consistent with the proposed explanation: happiness has barely increased for the rich and it has dropped for the poor.”

Ce concluzii tragem din cercetarea lui Rousseau?
1. Relatia dintre venit si fericirea e concava, insemnand ca desi pana la un anumit nivel ambele cresc simultan, fericirea incepe ulterior sa scada.
2. Incepand cu 1975, principalele venituri produse de societatea americana au fost deturnate aproape exclusiv catre cei mai bogati 20%. Veniturile celor mai saraci americani au scazut, situatii ce au dus la reliefarea accentuata a inegalitatilor.
3. Zece ore pe saptamana de timp liber aduc o fericire la fel de mare cu cea a maririi venitului anual cu 6,25%.
4. Plata taxelor nu afecteaza semnificativ starea de bine a populatiei.

Cercetarea expusa mai sus confirma deci ideile sustinute pe acest blog: neputinta averii de a spori fericirea chiar si pentru cei mai bogati; inegalitatile dauneaza fericirii generale; capitalismul ii favorizeaza pe cei mai bogati dar este ostil celor mai saraci; timpul liber are un efect important asupra satisfactiei personale.
Este insa studiul lui Rousseau reprezentativ nu doar pentru SUA, ci si pentru situatia din tarile europene? Autorul raspunde pozitiv:

„In countries where income inequality has either fallen or remained constant while the economy was growing, the average level of life satisfaction has risen. This is the case in France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Denmark, and Spain. In Holland and Great Britain, the average life satisfaction level has risen despite an increase in income inequality. This either means that the whole income distribution benefited (although possibly unevenly) from the economic expansion or that the rise in well-being of the rich was larger than the loss of the poor. Portugal is very similar to the US; the economic growth failed to raise aggregate well-being because of growing income inequality.”

Articolul lui Jean-Benoit Gregoire Rousseau ne indreptateste sa credem ca o lume cu mai putine inegalitati sociale, mai putin interesata de imbogatire materiala si care acorda o atentie mai mare relaxarii si timpului liber in dauna muncii in exces, are mai mari sanse sa fie una fericita decat cea prezenta.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Satisfactia de viata in socialism vs. satisfactia de viata in capitalism

Pe Richard Easterlin l-am mai prezentat, astfel incat trec direct la materialul sau care ne intereseaza in prezenta postare, adica “Lost in Transition: Life Satisfaction on the Road to Capitalism,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, (2009 forthcoming). In anuntatul studiu, Easterlin compara nivelul de satisfactie recent al populatiilor din tarile ex-sovietice cu cel din perioada anterioara anului 1990. Concluzia generala este ca anii `90 au reprezentat o perioada dezastruoasa pentru situatia economica si sociala, care s-a reflectat in scaderea drastica a satisfactiei de viata. Incepand cu anii 2000, situatia materiala a populatiilor din spatiul ex-sovietic s-a mai imbunatatit, insa cea sociala a ramas la fel de precara ca in perioada tranzitiei, ceea ce a facut ca in ciuda unor cresteri ale PIB-urilor cu pana la 25%, starea de multumire a oamenilor de abia a reusit s-o egaleze, dupa 15 ani de capitalism, pe cea din 1989-1990, ani considerati, de altfel, deosebit de grei pentru statele ex-socialiste.
Inainte de a cita din studiul lui Easterlin, sa urmarim un rezumat al sau aparut la adresa "Are socialists happier than capitalists?".

Irelevanta politicii fata de satisfactia personala a populatiei
"Easterlin examines life satisfaction in thirteen countries in the so-called communist-bloc using self-reported data from a range of sources, particularly the World Values Survey. Communist-bloc countries first appeared in the large-scale Survey in 1989, when a representative population in each country was asked to rate "life these days, as a whole" on a scale of 1 (dissatisfied) to 10 (satisfied). (...)
"The dissolution of the police states and increase in political and civil rights in many of the transition countries might have been expected to increase life satisfaction," Easterlin says. "The sharp decline that initially occurred suggests that adverse economic and social conditions trumped the political in their impact on subjective well-being."
The study finds that the trend in overall satisfaction with democracy is actually slightly negatively correlated to the trend in reported happiness after the fall of the Iron Curtain. This correlation is not statistically significant, according to Easterlin, but undermines the assertion by some scholars that democratization in these countries significantly increased happiness.
"There is evidence that, when asked about their sources of well-being, people rarely mention political circumstances," Easterlin explains. "Rather, they put foremost those concerns that principally occupy their time, most notably making a living, family life and health."

Mult-invocata lipsa de democratie participativa ce, se spune, ar fi caracterizat mediul politic din fostul URSS se pare deci ca nu a avut un efect relevant asupra vietii cetatenilor, la fel cum nici pretinsa democratie ulterioara nu a influentat in bine situatia.

Trecand la lucrurile care chiar au importanta pentru omul de rand:
"Satisfaction with work, childcare and health all decreased significantly during the transition from socialism to capitalism, reflecting a marked rise in symptoms of social stress such as divorce rates, suicide rates, domestic violence and increased alcoholism and drug use, Easterlin finds.
However, people were much more satisfied with one particular aspect of their lives after the fall of the Soviet Union: their material circumstances, including standard of living, goods availability and the environment.
"The positive contribution of life satisfaction to improved material living was outweighed by losses in employment security, health and child care, and provision for old age," Easterlin says.
"The human cost of the transition was enormous, with the lives of millions turned upside down," Easterlin says. "The impact of these changes on people's personal lives and their well-being is almost totally missed by GDP per capita."
While life satisfaction had rebounded somewhat by 1999, there is evidence to suggest that even by 2005 it had not yet reach pre-transition levels, according to the study. By this time, GDP in the countries studied had increased 25 percent on average since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
"The life satisfaction measure, which reflects not only material well-being, but the everyday concerns and worries of women and men about work, health and family, is more indicative of the far-reaching changes that were taking place," Easterlin says.
He continues: "Life satisfaction is not an exhaustive measure of well-being. But if, in formulating transition policy, some consideration had been given to this measure, perhaps there would have been fewer 'lost in transition.'"

Asadar, perioada ce a urmat disparitiei URSS-ului a fost marcata de o tranzitie crunta, apoi de o crestere a PIB-ului unora dintre tari insa care s-a dovedit neputincioasa in a spori statisfactia de viata fata de cea din ultimii ani ai blocului socialist. De fapt, puncteaza Easterlin, exista dovezi care indica faptul ca nici macar nu a egalat-o.

Citand si din studiul propriu-zis, aflam:
"The broad economic facts of the transition have been spelled out numerous times, especially for the period of the 1990s (...). Most notable was an abrupt and massive economic collapse, with measured GDP falling to levels of around 50 to 85 per cent of the 1989 level, usually in a few years or less. Subsequently GDP recovered somewhat, though rarely by 1999 to the initial level. A visiting economist from Mars, confronted only with these GDP data, might well conclude that an economic disaster on the scale of the Great Depression had befallen some 400 million of the world’s population. On the plus side, consumer goods shortages -- a chronic condition under
socialism -- largely disappeared. With regard to factor inputs, capital shrank and there was a significant increase in flows out of the labor force. Unemployment rates rose from near zero to double digit levels in many countries. “[P]overty and inequality … both increased sharply in the beginning of the transition and have so far [1999] not shown signs of declining” (Campos and Corticelli, 2002, 816; cf. also World Bank 2000b). The social safety nets that prevailed under socialism were severely ruptured."

Statul asistential, tipic socialismului, a fost asadar distrus, ceea ce a dat nastere unor calamitati sociale precum cresterea saraciei, somajului si inegalitatilor. Acolo unde a existat totusi crestere economica, ea rareori s-a ridicat la nivelul existent in ultimii ani ai sistemului sovietic.

Beneficiile sociale aduse de socialism, mai importante decat insuficienta lui materiala:
"[H]ow it is possible that in the transition countries life satisfaction under socialism might at one time have been higher than it is currently under capitalism? A speculative answer to this question is suggested by the data on domain satisfaction presented earlier for the former GDR and Hungary (Table 3). Although the socialist system was notably deficient in its ability to supply material goods, it provided substantial security for individuals in other domains important for personal happiness such as job security, provision of child care, health insurance, and support in old age for oneself and one’s parents. One might suppose that the authoritarian communist state and limited civil and political rights, coupled with often-empty store shelves, might have kept life satisfaction lower than currently. But the limited evidence above suggests that greater security with regard to other personal concerns may have outweighed the

Se reitereaza ideea ca securitatea locului de munca, grija statului fata de copii, asigurarile de sanatate, grija fata de pensionari, caracteristice URSS-ului, au produs o stare generala de bine ce a depasit efectele negative ale unor lipse materiale, de produse, cat si lipsa democratiei.

In concluzie:
"By 2005, life satisfaction had recovered to its early 1990s level of better, but this return required an increase in GDP per capita averaging about 25 per cent above the early 1990s value. Moreover, the available evidence, though quite limited, suggests that even in 2005 life satisfaction may have been below the levels prevailing before the 1990s. The explanation of the 2005 shortfall relative to pre-1990s levels may be that the positive contribution to life satisfaction of improved material living levels was outweighed by losses in employment security, health and child care, and provision for old age."

Referitor la Rusia, cea mai reprezentativa tara din fostul lagar socialist,
"The human cost of the economic transition was enormous, with the lives of millions of people turned upside down. In a statement specifically about Russia, but representative of the transition countries generally, Brainerd and Cutler (2005, p. 125) point out that “[b]efore 1989, Russians lived in a country that provided economic security: unemployment was virtually
unknown, persons were guaranteed and provided a standard of living perceived to be adequate, and microeconomic stability did not much affect the average citizen.” All or most of this went by the board with the transition to free markets. So too did provision of health and child care. Family life was torn apart as divorce rates soared. Alcoholism, smoking and drug use grew markedly. Suicide rates increased, and domestic violence against women rose. Families were uprooted, some moving back to villages where subsistence agriculture might provide some economic support.
The impact of these changes on people’s personal lives and their well-being is almost totally missed by GDP per capita. Even a measure of income inequality -- an increasingly popular supplement to GDP -- barely hints at what happened. In contrast, the life satisfaction measure, which reflects not only material well-being, but the everyday concerns and worries of women and men about work, health, and family, is more indicative of the far-reaching changes that were taking place."

Dupa cum am vazut, studiul lui Easterlin ia in calcul perioada 1990-2005. Putem deduce insa ca desi in unele state ex-sovietice a avut loc o crestere a PIB-ului, perspectivele de viitor sunt sumbre pentru aceste state, actualmente capitaliste. Intr-adevar, criza ce a inceput de prin 2008, laolalta cu cresterea economica iluzorie, bazata pe credit si importuri masive, in mod cert au coborat din nou multumirea de viata a populatiilor respective. Pe scurt, nu exageram daca spunem ca dupa 19 ani de capitalism, locuitorii fostelor tari comuniste (atatia cat au mai ramas) sunt mai putin satisfacuti de viata lor.

De aici nu trebuie sa deducem ca situatia ante-decembrista ar fi fost una ideala, perfecta. Cu siguranta oamenii muncii ar fi trebuit sa aiba un cuvant mai greu de spus in luarea deciziilor importante pentru societate, iar penuria de bunuri nu este un deziderat nici macar pentru anti-materialisti. Insa e relevant ca si cu aceste tare, socialismul de tip sovietic a avut performante sociale mult superioare celor avute de capitalismul actual. Daca un socialism imperfect este preferabil capitalismului, atunci unul ce va stii sa invete din greselile trecutului va fi cu atat mai preferabil!