A+| A| A-

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).

To read the full text Login

Get instant access

New 3 Month Subscription
to Digital Archives at

₹826for India

$50for overseas users

Updated On : 17th May, 2017

Comments

(-) Hide

EPW looks forward to your comments. Please note that comments are moderated as per our comments policy. They may take some time to appear. A comment, if suitable, may be selected for publication in the Letters pages of EPW.

C P Bhambri believed that the task of social science, like all other sciences, was to arrive at the truth on the basis of well-established facts....

The COVID-19 pandemic may affect the financing opportunities for innovation. The revenue loss induced by the pandemic is likely to divert the...

When the goods and services tax was introduced in July 2017, states were given a revenue guarantee of 14% per annum on their GST revenue over the...

India’s public health system has struggled to cope with the COVID-19 crisis. Even before the pandemic, India’s public health infrastructure was...

The National Education Policy, 2020 unveiled finally seeks to usher in major structural reforms in higher education. Among many measures,...

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown led to the closure of all markets in Manipur, including the Tribal Market Complex in Imphal East...

Coherent national strategies, backed by regional cooperation efforts, offer a way forward for economic recovery in South Asia, which is rapidly...

Sections 357 and 357-A of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 lay down the procedure for granting compensation to the victims of crime. Under the...

The COVID-19 pandemic has provocatively challenged the extant paradigm of development whose theoretical underpinning is derived from the...

The first report of the Fifteenth Finance Commission has allayed many fears that arose after the notification of the terms of reference of the...

Back to Top