Happiness breeds democracy

Happiness breeds democracy

January 10, 2009

Happiness grows democracy, freedom

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – As a kid I used to think the United States could solve its illegal immigrant worries if it just helped unhappy people where they were: Mexico, Africa, wherever. Help them live more like us, I thought. You know, freedom and democracy and stuff. And then they’ll be as happy and content as we are.

Sounds ignorant and naêÑԏve, certainly. Too bad it’s also pretty much what U.S. foreign policy leaders have believed for decades.

Turns out democracy doesn’t make you happy. It’s the other way around. Happiness breeds democracy, says Ronald Inglehart, a professor at the Center for Political Studies at the University of Michigan.

Eric Weiner, an NPR correspondent and author of The Geography of Bliss, laid out Inglehart’s findings in a Foreign Policy magazine story last spring.

To read more about the relationship between democracy and happiness – click here