“Gas taxes make you happy”

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'Can Americans be prodded to invest more in friendships?' Asks Sebastian Mallaby in a recent column- Why So Lonesome?;

“The question about loneliness is: Why do people do this to themselves? Why do Americans, who reported an average of nearly three close friends in 1985, now report an average of just over two? And why does one in four have nobody with whom to discuss personal issues? This is the age of Oprah and MySpace, of public emoting on television and the Web. Apparently people watch "Friends" but don't actually have many….

But there's one antidote to loneliness that is at least intriguing. In an experiment in Austin, Princeton's Daniel Kahneman found that commuting -- generally alone, and generally by car -- is rated the least enjoyable daily activity, but commuting by car pool is reasonably pleasant. Measures that promote car pooling could make Americans less isolated and healthier.”

Some findings from the recent study from American Sociological Association;

- the number of people who say they have no one with whom to discuss important matters has more than doubled

- The trend toward social isolation mirrors other class divides: Non-whites and people with less education tend to have smaller networks than white Americans and the highly educated.

- Racial diversity among people’s networks has increased. The percentage of people who count at least one person of another race in their close network has gone up from about 9 percent to more than 15 percent.

-The percentage of people who talk only to family members about important matters increased from about 57 percent to about 80 percent, while the number of people who depend totally on their spouse has increased from about 5 percent to about 9 percent.

Related; The Strength of Internet Ties

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This "research" doesn't pass the smell test. It seems fishy, maybe unscientific.

But even granting that it is true, I totally reject leftist interpretations of it. The problem is not sprawl, or globalization. The problem is radical egalitarianism, the welfare state, and a lot of other unintended consequences of leftist social programs.

For example, in the past American society was supported by voluntary associations. These associations chose whom to admit, and they provided in some cases charity, but also fellowship.

For the most part, these voluntary associations have been destoryed by leftists, often because they were discriminatory against women and minorities. Also, their charity function has been absorbed by the welfare state.


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This page contains a single entry by Paul published on July 31, 2006 1:46 PM.

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