I'm currently reading a great book called "The Science of Happiness" by Stefan Klein PhD and he links life expectancy levels with income distribution. In a country with greater levels of disparity between rich and poor life expectancy is lower. This can even be seen in individual states in the US, where no other factors seem pertinent, income disparity seems to effect life expectancy - negatively, the bigger the gap between rich and poor, the shorter they are all expected to live. And that made me think that the really bad thing about our current obsession with celebrities like Posh and Becks and Peter and Jordan is more to do with our obsession with wealth - and the difference between the rich and the poor - and that this is actually reducing peoples life expectancies! It seems like Hello magazine is knocking years off my life! What has that got to do with happiness? Well, the reason that people are dying younger is to do with stress and our reactions to it, the unhealthy lifestyle choices that we make when faced with an impossible mountain to climb. Humans love a challenge and a well matched challenge can bring out the best in us, but a near impossible task - such as getting into the pay scales of the super rich - leaves us stressed, unable to cope and it has to be said, very often drunk out of our minds in city centers. "So, what are you saying we should do about it, share out all the money?" This was my Dad's favourite rebuttal of socialism, adding that they could share out other peoples but not his... What he didn't realise was that his share wasn't actually all that significant. But that's a whole other story! A government which had the "greatest happiness of the greatest number" as it's goal would see that income disparity was a factor and try to improve things. Here are some equitable happy countries; Iceland, Sweden, Ireland, South Korea. Here are some less happy countries with bigger differences; West Germany, Japan, Moldova, Russia. Sadly our governments seem concerned only with GDP and not at all converned with the happiness of the general population. It's nice to have lots of GDPs, but a load more of them just won't make us any happier... Come on Gordon, make everybody happy!