“In fact, the bigger government is, the less happy societies tend to be. There is a direct relationship, stripping everything else out, between the government allowing people more freedom and well-being increasing.” Christopher Coyne
In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson called the pursuit of happiness an unalienable right. This was a radical idea. For most of history, most people didn’t think much about pursuing happiness. They were too busy just trying to survive.
Then came the liberal revolution based on the idea of individual freedom. Only then did they start thinking that happiness might be possible on earth.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the right to pursue happiness has been perverted into a government-backed entitlement to happiness.
British Prime Minister David Cameron says, “There’s more to life than money. … It’s time we focus not just on GDP, but GWB — general well-being.”
Well-being sounds good. But is that something that government programs promote?
Philip Booth, an economist with London’s Institute of Economic Affairs and editor of “… And the Pursuit of Happiness,” says no. I spoke recently with Booth and economist Christopher Coyne of George Mason University, who contributed to that volume.