Happiness and the law

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter challenges some of the premises of the literature that promotes subjective wellbeing as a goal for public policy. Having introduced the revival of 'happiness as policy' (Section 1), it tackles the assumption that happiness is a desirable alternative for, or a needed correction of, economic growth and its traditional measure of Gross Domestic Product of GDP (Section 2). It addresses the three core arguments that support the political promotion of happiness: that more economic growth is not the way to promote more happiness (Section 3), that 'happiness' can be sufficiently defined and measured as to make it a reliable policy instrument (Section 4), and that its promotion is morally desirable (Section 5). It highlights the tension between the politicization of happiness and the rule of law (Section 6). It concludes by repositioning the relevance of happiness, arguing for a policy of facilitation rather than determination (Section 7).
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA commitment to excellence
Subtitle of host publicationessays in honour of emeritus professor Gabriël A. Moens
EditorsAugusto Zimmerman
Place of PublicationRedland Bay, Queensland
PublisherConnor Court Publishing
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)9781925826203
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes

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