Nicholas Kristoff at the New York Times sees a lot of positives arising out of the current financial distress. For example:
Income doesn't have much to do with happiness. Americans haven't become any happier as they have prospered in the last half-century. And winning the lottery doesn't make people happier in the long term.
This is called the Easterlin Paradox: Once they have met their basic needs, people don't become happier as they become richer. In recent years, new research has undermined the Easterlin Paradox, yet it's still true that happiness has less to do with money than with friendships and finding meaning in a cause larger than oneself.
"There's pretty good evidence that money doesn't matter much for how you feel moment to moment," said Alan Krueger, a Princeton University economist who is conducting extensive research on happiness. "What seems to matter much more is having good friends and family, and time to spend on social activities."
There's lots else for which to be grateful that we're headed into a recession (I'm kidding). Read Kristoff's column to find out what some of the other "benefits" are.RLC