The Corner

Happiness and Status Cont’d

I really should have added that the study was of Germans. My guess is that this fact alone makes the study even less relevant to America. Germans, it seems to me care more about status than Americans do. I think that’s self-evident, what with all the Doctor-Doctor stuff. And who knows how many other biases are at work. Anyway, this reader carries the point further:

Sir:

There are plenty of caveats that go with that study, although your

observations seem keen enough.  The biggest problem is generalizability: the

study is about Germans from 1984 to 2000 (which has been pointed out by

others).  As you know, Germans are not Americans.  And the time period

covered–they’ve had some serious national identity issues.  It has the tail

end of the Cold War–and arguably the most tense part of it (save the Cuban

Missile Crisis), when Reagan really turned up the heat on the Evil Empire.

And that same era covers the fall of the Wall, reunification, etc.

So maybe from an armchair social scientist’s perspective, this kind of study

makes for interesting discussion.  But the German thing is a pretty big

leap.