What Happens if Governments Don't Take Happiness Seriously

I saw this news story on the BBC News site the other day: 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/10197763.stm  

Mary Portas (a retail expert) is concerned that the domination of supermarkets is having a detrimental effect on the quality of life - "Portas said she believed communities were being sacrificed for convenience." 

Nothing radically new or earth shattering about that I suppose, but if you think about it, supermarkets exist because they fill a niche supported by government legislation and need government tolerance at the very least in order to exist. Supermarkets rely for example on the road infrastructure supplied by central government, for which they do not pay a proportional cost. They are the end product of the economic and legal environment - which ultimately is determined by the government. 

But supermarkets don't make us happy. If governments carry on with their current policies which look only at the financial aspects of life they risk driving the people into misery. 

Just as individuals need to pursue happiness rather than wealth, government needs to make the same mental shift. We want money because we think it will make us happy, what we find though is that you can't buy happiness, despite what it says in the ads. If we abandon our quest for wealth and go direct to the causes of happiness we can do much better. Let's hope governments can be as smart. If not we risk having a country full of miserable rich people. Or is that what we already have?


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