Stress and risk – the secret of happiness

Very interesting article on the Financial Times online by Luke Johns, the chairman of Channel 4 and who also runs Risk Capital Partners, a private equity firm.  A recent debate took place on what society wants post recession. Some panelists emphasised the importance of promoting happiness rather than material wealth as a true measure of human progress.  One view put forward was that public policy should demotivate wealth creators with higher taxation because they exacerbate the race for status.

Johns raises the view that entrepreneurs are the principal engine that can create jobs.  To deny them the opportunity to create wealth denies society the opportunity to combat unemployment.  This article raises an interesting debate about the balance between protecting against rampant excess (as the financial industry is perceived to have succumbed to) and the need to allow individuals reap the reward for risk.

Johns end with a quote from Teddy Roosevelt, the former US president: “Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though chequered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in a grey twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

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