May 30, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

Complete News World

A better economy does not automatically lead to happier people.

Our economy is recovering, our wages are up, gas prices are down again: after the Corona crisis, we too have weathered the energy crisis with flying colours. Thanks to the government. Yet we are dissatisfied with our wages and struggle with feeling poor. but why?

Dimitri Tgeskins

The sun is starting to rise again, both literally and figuratively. We already internalized the corona crisis well, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine suddenly seemed to leave us with years of high energy and food prices. Looks like we’ve pretty much overcome that problem as well. Unemployment has never been as low as it is today, in both the European Union and the United States. It also seems that we have almost contained the inflation monster.

So nothing seems to stand in the way of feeling completely happy, right? But this is not the case. For example, the Salary Compass showed that despite strong purchasing power – among the highest in the entire European Union – and high wages, we are not happy with our salary package and in our work. De Stemming’s results showed that we struggle with feeling poor.

Where did the split come from? “The first important comment is that these feelings were measured at a different time,” says Professor Yves Marks (UAntwerp). Several months ago, there was a period of extremely high volatility. So by looking at these numbers, you get a mismatch between the so-called feelings that people are experiencing and the situation now.

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wild growth

However, on a subjective level as well, we notice a kind of pessimism. So how do we put it? Marx: “Is this so widespread? It is always those who shout the loudest and complain the loudest – for example on social media – who are heard the most. Regardless, it is of course true that we still live in unstable times A lot has happened in the past three years, and the uncertainty in people’s minds is not good, and stability is much better.”

Filisofe Alicja Gescinska would like to open it. “From our economic model we have learned that we must always grow and always give more. And of course you never have enough. It is not so often that we are dissatisfied with how much we have ourselves, but especially that someone else has more. For me, acquisition inflation is A good example of this is runaway growth. Businesses have taken advantage of higher prices to go the extra mile and make record profits. I don’t see why people don’t take to the streets anymore. I can understand that it’s frustrating.”


We also put our hand in our lap: the role of the media should not pass without mentioning it. During the energy crisis, for example, the focus was often on negative exceptions. A good example of this is energy bills, which upon closer inspection did not go up as quickly as initially expected. However, our newspaper has also started looking for people who have had to pay more than 500 euros in advance per month. Marx: “I understand that a newspaper should sell and articles get clicked. But it is true that negative news gets more attention than positive news. I’ve noticed this in my line of work as well. If poverty increases, that’s big news, and less space is often given Much to the contrary.”

Marx sees another reason why the focus is often on the negative. “You have social organizations like trade unions or employers, defending their interests for which it often doesn’t seem to be enough. But that’s their role.”

Belgian systems work

For our country specifically, it seems like a number of unique systems weren’t so bad after all. “Belgium has already received a lot of criticism about economic unemployment because it would allow inefficient companies to continue to exist,” Marks says. But it worked well during the corona crisis. Just like the wage index, which preserved our purchasing power, and the Wage Amendment Act, which made it affordable for businesses. Another example: after the 2008 financial crisis, Belgium didn’t give up on the chase, as did other countries. Famous economists such as Paul Krugman cited Belgium as an example to address that crisis. So at the end of the day we can be very positive.”

But there are certainly problems with long-term policy: the budget deficit has once again reached alarming proportions. The Belgian government’s debt is now nearly 500 billion euros. “We now have a budget deficit that seems structurally unsustainable. I think every economist would agree that something needs to be done here, and that’s obvious,” says Marks.

Jesenska advocates for a more prominent place for values ​​in both business and everyday life. We have often found that higher GDP does not automatically lead to happier people. You can’t take everything with you to your grave. From an early age, young people are told to become financially independent by investing and investing quickly. Financial literacy is important, but even more important is teaching some values ​​and how to become a good person. I’ve never known anyone on their deathbed to complain that they spent too much time with the kids, but too much work. Then you see what’s most important.”