Happiness vs Productivity – Disagree

The problem with this claim is that it implicitly regards productivity as generally a good thing. I take issue with this idea. Productivity is only good in as far as it produces something good, that is in so far as production is working towards something that will create happiness, however that broad term is to be understood.

For this reason, while it is possible to have productive people who are happy, the very idea of happiness tends away from the idea of productivity (as both of these are understood in modern Western society). How can a person be happy working in say a factory or an office where the end product is something mundane which they have no real interest in. Sure, making them happier both at work and at home may encourage them to accept their role as a mere producer in the service of a consumer society but this does not take away the fact there is no inherent value in production. People work to support themselves financially and, except in rare cases, they have little love or respect for their jobs.

It is true that there are exceptions, people who genuinely feel fulfilled by their jobs, but paradoxically I would say these would tend to be jobs where the emphasis is not productivity but rather something else less tangible (for example teaching of health care) but such jobs as are fulfilling tend to be more about creativity than productivity. In the majority of cases there can be little reconciliation between pursuits that people enjoy outside of work hours and the work that is necessary to pursue these other interests.

The result of this is that true happiness and pure productivity will rarely go hand in hand. Measures can be taken to make the friction less but it is anachronistic to think that increased happiness can or should lead to increased productivity. People should look first to what type of happiness they wish to achieve and then become as productive as is necessary to achieve this. The problem is that in a capitalist economy all is related through money. This means that in order to achieve their own personal happiness, people use their productivity on something about which they are uninterested.

Whether there is a resolution to this I do not know. My main point is merely that it is a mistake to believe that someone can both be properly happy and then voluntarily be as productive in a detached way as they would if they were truly involved or affected by the outcome. I would be more motivated to farm land if it was mine than if it belonged to someone else – I believe this analogy can be extrapolated to most industries in the post-industrial society of today.