Against Corruption

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This is an interesting book to read, because of the differences among the authors.  They were able to discuss corruption from different cultural, educational, and economic backgrounds/viewpoints.

Here are a few of the main points:

  • Corruption hurts life outcomes in a variety of ways.  Economically, it diverts resources away from their most productive uses and acts like a regressive tax that supports the lifestyles of the elites at the expense of everyone else.
  • Corruption incentives the best and brightest to spend their time gaming the system, rather than innovating or creating new wealth.
  • As the difficulties and risk of corrupt behavior rise, fewer people will behave corruptly.
  • While auditing doesn’t sound like a glamorous nation-building activity, it is a critical part of ensuring that governments are spending public money responsibly and effectively.
  • Corruption is a cancer.  At first, it can look small and harmless.  Before you know it, it has taken over your entire body.  Likewise, the losses from corruption can start small, but in the end the damage is enormous.

Happy – A Documentary

“The constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness.  You have to catch it yourself.”  Benjamin Franklin

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This documentary is available on Netflix.  It takes an in depth look at what makes people happy and how we can improve our own happiness.

Here are a few things from the documentary that I found to be interesting:

  • Dopamine is a chemical in the brain and it is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel happy.  Physical activity releases dopamine, so engaging in exercise is a natural mood booster.
  • Events have a limited impact on our happiness.  When something good happens, we may feel ecstatic.  However, those feelings will dissipate quickly.  When something bad happens, we may feel devastation, but those feelings will also dissipate.
  • A key ingredient to happiness is being able to recover from adversity quickly.
  • Once our basic needs are meet, an increase in income has a limited affect on our level of happiness.
  • You will always be able to find somebody that has more money than you or that has something you don’t have.  A constant desire for more will have a negative impact on our happiness.
  • The more people focus on money and image the less happy they feel.
  • The more people focus on relationships, personal development, and community service the happier they feel.
  • Changing your focus from what you don’t have to what you do have that you can share, will promote happiness.
  • The building blocks of happiness are play, new experiences, and relationships.

Take time to do something that makes you happy today.