Blog author: jcarter
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Robert J. Samuelson on why getting the government involved in the happiness movement will make us all miserable:

We ought to leave “happiness” to novelists and philosophers — and rescue it from the economists and psychologists who think it can be distilled into a “science” and translated into pro-happiness policies. Fat chance. Government can often mitigate sources of unhappiness (starvation, unemployment, disease), but happiness is more than the absence of misery. If we could manufacture happiness, we could repeal the “human condition.”

Somehow this has escaped the social scientists who want to make happiness the goal of government. They argue that economic output (gross domestic product) doesn’t measure everything that’s important in life — family, friends or religion, for example. True, but it doesn’t follow that “happiness” can be targeted as an alternative.