Can We Be Happier: Evidence and Ethics

November 20, 2021


I recently began Tim Harford’s The Data Detective. In it, he makes the case that creating a better world is synonymous with creating a more efficient (free) market. That by thinking as an Economist would is the best approach to better the world.

In Can We Be Happier, Richard Layard proposes a contradictory idea. That Economic growth is not sustainable. And Richard provides evidence why the correct aim is increasing happiness using science. He argues that happiness is the ultimate good and that all other goods are good because of the way they contribute to happiness.

The book has chapters dedicated to explaining various roles in society- teachers, politicians, and us as individuals. I wasn’t expecting the focus on public policy. The book is an easy read, has lots of data and anecdotes. In spite of the supporting data, I’m skeptical about the correlation causations. Overall, Can We Be Happier has some good points, is optimistic, and perhaps excessively ambitious.

Made with lots of ♥️ and