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Fundamentals of Happiness

An Economic Perspective

Lall Ramrattan and Michael Szenberg

Examining the fundamental thinking underpinning the foundation for economic studies of happiness, this book explores the theories of key economists and philosophers from the Greek philosophers to more modern schools of thought. Lall Ramrattan and Michael Szenberg explore the general measures of happiness, utility as a method, metrical measures of happiness, happiness in literature and the scope of happiness in this concise book.
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Chapter 5: Social welfare and happiness

Lall Ramrattan and Michael Szenberg

Extract

In this chapter, we specialize our study of happiness to that of society and the welfare of mankind. This will require focusing on social relationships and the social skills, ties, and support that may contribute to happiness. Humans find happiness by participating in groups. The concept of group rationality reveals that each individual gets benefits from such membership. For instance, you may not be able to adequately protect yourself and your property, so you turn to society. The will of individuals guards self-interest, but there is a general will, which guards common interest according to Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Rousseau, 1978, p. 72). The general will is a compelling force, and may not work in a way to provide the individual happiness. There are many theories associated with a happy society.

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