Economics & Happiness

Last weekend Agi and I had a very enjoyable two hour train ride down to visit her grandmother in Szolnok (a small and unfortunately ugly town that hasn't shaken off its "commie" feel).  I generally love public transportation and it's much more relaxing than driving.  My one caveat is that who your fellow passengers are makes a big difference in how much you enjoy the ride.  On the tram or bus it only takes one homeless guy to make his presence known.  But on the train--since tickets are checked much more rigorously--the air is fresh (as long as you're not in the smoking section).

Agi and I took a nice long walk along the (unfortunately lackluster and bland) streets of Szolnok and discussed all the reasons why the Russians should feel a lot worse than they do about how they really messed up half of Europe.  Most Germans have an appropriately repentant attitude about the bad things they did in the 20th century, but not so the Russians.  The astonishing amount of damage the Russians did to Hungary--economically, politically and socially--and a dozen other nations will take another generation to fix.  How about an apology Putin?

The main point of this post, however, is that on the train ride home Agi and I concluded something we've been mulling over in the past week or so--various perspectives on the relationship between money and happiness.  There are many trite phrases out there about this topic but here's the way we view it: money is a tool that can solve certain problems, and meet certain needs and wants--while happiness is a choice that everyone must make on a daily basis.

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