Should the pursuit of happiness be political policy

Should the pursuit of happiness be political policy

by Stephen Lunn for The Australian

THE delightfully (or, depending on your political bent, dangerously) goofy ex-AFL footballer turned politician Justin Madden has one of the best titles going around as Victoria’s Minister for the Respect Agenda.

But if some Melbourne researchers have their way, his crown could be taken by a new minister for happiness.

You may think such a portfolio is a little too flower power, or perhaps too Orwellian, for your liking, but the boffins at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research reckon happiness can be controlled via government policy-making.

They say phooey to the long-held sociological notion that long-term happiness is a question of personality, something found in the genes. It is a matter of will, they say, susceptible to outside influences and therefore government policy. The Wry Side thinks the abolition of personal income tax would be a good start.

This is breaking news, folks. The report is published today in the US Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It concludes that if you consciously make changes to your work and family life, you can improve your levels of happiness. Spending time with friends, the kids or your spouse is one of the keys to happiness, interestingly in that order…

…for the full article and comments about the relevance of happiness policy to Australia – CLICK HERE