17 Dec Should happiness be the ultimate goal for government?
To what extent should governments and politicians be focused on happiness and wellbeing? Should and/or can governments legislate for happiness and wellbeing?
This is the final paragraph in an interesting article on the role of governments in promoting happiness from the UK’s Guardian…
Fortunately, the evidence from fields such as behavioural economics and positive psychology also points to what enhances experienced wellbeing. The “five ways to wellbeing“, distilled by Nef from a 2008 government review of the latest scientific evidence in the field, identify wellbeing-enhancing activities in everyday life. Current policy, directed towards maximising hours spent in paid employment and failing to value non-market activities, hampers people’s ability to get involved in the sorts of community and voluntary activities that offer some of the best opportunities to connect with others, be physically active, take notice of what’s around us, learn new skills, and give. It is not the state’s business to impose such activities on us. But it does have a clear role in establishing the conditions that allow individuals to maximise their own wellbeing. This is the true yardstick by which political success should be measured.
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