What Is the Happiness Lobby?

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from NCPA,

In recent years, there has been an explosion in published research into the causes and implications of happiness. The idea is that if governments attach significant value to this happiness research and data, they could formulate policies that would attempt to maximize aggregate happiness, say Iain Murray and Blake Taylor of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The happiness lobby seeks to use this information to formulate public policy that they believe will improve society by maximizing the former — through subsidies and other general public support — and minimizing the latter — through increased taxation, regulation or outright prohibition.

Can public officials make these decisions fairly? Simply put, individuals know how to augment their own happiness better than any public officials acting on their behalf.

… economic growth generally runs parallel with increased opportunities for individuals. There is never a point where those opportunities are sufficiently available.

There will always be barriers, both natural and man-made, that impede individuals’ ability to pursue goals. Removing those barriers should be a higher priority than micromanaging subjective responses to happiness surveys. If individuals and policymakers focus on eliminating those barriers, the coming decades may see an even more dramatic increase in individuals’ capability to pursue meaningful happiness on their own terms.

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