Arnon Grunberg


Hedonic Psychology

In “Well-being –The Foundations of Hedonic Psychology” Daniel Kahneman, Ed Diener, and Norbert Schwarz write: “We are particularly hopeful that a scientific understanding of hedonic experience will allow for the development of valid hedonic indicators that reflect the pleasantness of life in the everyday experience of people. At present economic indicators hold the most sway in policy circles. Yet, the economic approach is limited in several ways. First, it focuses on those aspects of life that can be traded in the marketplace. Thus, desirable goods such as love, mental challenge, and stress are given little consideration.”

I’m not sure if for example love – a desirable good, I agree – is not traded in the marketplace. To avoid obvious misunderstandings I’m not speaking about sex. I would argue that love is exchanged for love or affection or security, to name just a few other desirable goods. You don’t need money to have a marketplace.

Note that Kahneman, Diener and Schwarz qualify “stress” as a desirable good.