Money and happiness revisited

There is “a near-spiritual human instinct to believe that money can’t buy happiness,” says David Leonhardt in The New York Times. And a 1974 study seemed to back that up. But two University of Pennsylvania economists now argue that money at least “tends to bring happiness, even if it doesn’t guarantee it.” Looking at Gallup polls from around the world, the economists found that “life satisfaction is highest in the richest countries,” and that wealthy people are happier than poor people. It’s true that money can’t directly buy you time with friends and “short commutes,” but it can help you afford them. In the end, it appears, “affluence is a pretty good deal” after all.

Newspapers missing the point

The newspaper business is reporting the wrong story, says Steven Pearlstein in The Washington Post. Circulation and ad revenues are dropping, true, but the industry is based on “highly profitable local monopolies” that for years yielded “20 percent profit margins.” That only works when there isn’t “vigorous competition,” and with the Internet, those days are over. To “survive and prosper,” papers will have to consolidate, and plow the savings from “scale efficiencies” into “new technology, top talent, and product improvement.” Cutting quality staff and “dumbing down” coverage is a “silly” strategy as readers become “better educated, more sophisticated, and more global in their orientation.”