Do Policy-Makers need a Definition of Happiness?

Can happiness be defined? Should happiness be defined?

There seemed to be a difference of opinion at the recent World Happiness Summit in Miami. Some presenters suggested that happiness needs no definition because we know whether we are happy or not. Others wished to dive into happiness categories to understand how national wellbeing and happiness can be improved.
This debate did not include meditation gurus on one side and economists on the other. There is a lot of thought and science in this idea. It does appear that “happiness” is an excellent marketing term to include many different concepts.

My takeaway is that it is important to consider happiness categories in order to inform public policy. In other words, to understand what elements of policy will result in overall improved perceived citizen happiness. It’s not that important to define personal happiness, although the concepts from ancient Greece and present-day Bhutan are compelling.

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