Three important contributions
today from the more speculative reaches of social science. Noel Pearson
again hits the headlines with his robust view that working for a living
is good for people. “The argument that animates my insistence on
welfare reform is that it is in the best interests of disadvantaged
people. My advice to the federal government on welfare reform is
simple: we need maximum pressure on people to work and the fairest
reward for working.”

Then there’s Ken Nielsen, who says
there’s agreement that abundance has not made us happy. “The obvious
reason is that humans are hard-wired to be dissatisfied. To want more,
to do better, to go further. In some, that appears as a desire for more
money and toys, in others, to write a book or a symphony or to cure
cancer. In Hamilton’s case [Nielson is reviewing Growth Fetish
by Clive Hamilton], it seems to be a desire to change the world and its
values. If he succeeds will he be happy? I bet not. But that would not
be a reason to stop him writing another book, any more than Beethoven
should have been stopped when his first symphony did not satisfy him.
In life, are you happy now? is the wrong question.”

“Girls do better than boys,” writes Kate Legge, social affairs writer for The Oz
– a girl and therefore conflicted. “Girls interact better than boys at
a younger age than first thought and also learn to walk and talk
earlier, according to a groundbreaking study that sheds new light on
the development of Australian children from infancy through to school
age.” And we have to say the case study in the Thornton household does
not disprove the hypothesis.

Visit the Henry Thonton website here.