ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Happy Days Are ‘Not’ Here!

The interest to create happiness in a gloomy world riddled with crises and turmoil appears to be the new agenda of international organisations. The artificial creation and representation of happiness from sample surveys could be problematic as it may not lead to genuine expression, but could lead to ignoring the larger structural and social determinants of health, well-being and happiness.

This is an era of a synthetic, faceless, and invisible web enveloping all aspects of our life. We are living in a virtual world where happiness has become a synthetic tool to usher in and lubricate the neo-liberal ideology that is essentially gloomy (Warmerdam 2007). Every year, 20 March is celebrated as World Happiness Day (Lancet 2016). It has become a project for countries as well as donors, which creates an impression that happiness can inclusively be engineered within a society using specific tools (Baucells and Sarin 2012). Some countries such as Bhutan, Ecuador, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela have even appointed Ministers of Happiness!

From the time of Aristotle, it has been recognised that the ultimate objective of life is happiness (Armstrong 1951). However, there is a renewed interest and focus on individuals and their behaviour with respect to general well-being in recent policies, programmes (including disease control programmes) and strategies by governments as well as donors. It starts with the notion of creating happiness and life satisfaction, although it is known that higher incomes do not correlate with a higher level of sustained happiness (Majumdar and Gupta 2015; Kahneman and Deaton 2010). An example would be the evidence from the United States (US), where gross national product (GNP) per capita has risen threefold from the 1960s, but the measures of happiness have not changed (Helliwell et al 2012).

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Updated On : 17th May, 2017

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