The inequality of personal well-being is sharply down over the past hundred years and perhaps over the past twenty years as well. Bill Gates is much, much richer than I am, yet it is not obvious that he is much happier if, indeed, he is happier at all.
Tyler Cowen, writing in The American Interest
I’m on the fence about this one. Dr Cowen assumes that well-being is defined only by income and then plugs that through the log function. A clever trick, to be sure, but we don’t actually have measurements of well-being from centuries ago. This might matter if, for example, well-being is determined more by interactions with other people than by material wealth. Something like the privatisation of public land might increase material wealth but decrease the number of interactions with people and therefore decrease the number of friends and emotional contact.
I guess, absent further data, I’m filing this under troll.