Posted by Nicholas at July 3, 2008 08:38 AM
Some science suggests that happiness is essentially a fixed commodity. It may rise or fall sharply because of events — getting a raise, breaking a leg — but over the long run, people adapt to those experiences and revert to their natural level of satisfaction (or melancholy).
Scratch that theory. According to a recent global survey, happiness is not only variable but on the rise in most of the world.
Two things, it appears, are needed to increase the supply of happiness: freedom and money. As it happens, a substantial amount of freedom is crucial to the creation of wealth. There is no such thing as a rich totalitarian country, as even the onetime totalitarians in Beijing finally realized. So in a very real sense, freedom is the key to happiness.
Steve Chapman, "The Pursuit of Happiness: How economic liberty creates personal fulfillment", Reason Online, 2008-07-03
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