Another currency

So, recently a discussion with the domain squatter who bought after I missed a email about it needing renewed (many years ago) contacted me wanting to sell it. It quickly became clear that we were not in the same ballpark – my top offer was $1k, they wanted $9.5 – and while I miss it, I don’t miss it *that* much – it did get me thinking about another type of currency.

Domain squatters who register domains as soon as they become available after failure to register by the original owners are a example of one of those things that reduces happiness in the world. Presumably the people doing this are okay with this – they don’t mind being evil as long as they’re making money – but it makes me wonder how many enterprises make money at the cost of happiness. I’m talking about sum total happiness here – and it may be that if the domain squatter does make his $9.5k his increased happiness will cancel out my reduced happiness, or even I suppose be more than my reduced happiness although I kind of doubt it somehow.

But it does make me think about happiness as currency. In specific, the way this world is extremely overcomplicated, with taxes, forms, laws, customs, and the like reduces happiness, and a lot of it can be traced to people needing to do something in order to get paid. I think we’d probably increase happiness a lot if we stopped requiring everyone to have a job, *both* in the fact that people wouldn’t be made miserable by doing their jobs that shouldn’t have existed in the first place, and in the fact that a lot of those ‘makework’ jobs end up making lives worse for other people – I’m especially looking at government here, but I could just as easily be looking at homeowners associations.

Now, I doubt this particular domain squatter is doing this hustle just because s/he couldn’t find something better to do with h* time – but it would be really interesting to know if h* would still be squatting on domains if h* didn’t have to in order to keep eating and living indoors – that is, does h* do it because h* gets some particular joy from it, or is it just a way to keep on keeping on? Which leads me to think, not for the first nor I’m sure the last time that our insistence on everyone having a job is hurting us, since many jobs, by their very existence, hurt the happiness level of the person doing the job, and some hurt the happiness level of many people. (Domain squatting would be a example of a job which hurts a lot of people a little bit.)

I titled this another currency, because I’m starting to think of misery and happiness as something to be tracked and optimized for. Imagine a capitalist society where happiness was a capital that was optimized for.. I think my friend Andy is already thinking along these lines.. and how much better of a experience for all involved it could be.

One Response to “Another currency”

  1. Alderin Says:

    That’ll be a laugh and three grins, please. 🙂

    It would be very nice if we optimized for overall happiness, but such a thing is very hard to track, as happiness is very subjective. A quote from my mom: “Just because I’m depressed doesn’t mean I’m not happy.” Subjective and complicated, but definitely worthwhile.

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