Well Being

The American constitution’s deference to individual freedom appears quaint even archaic today. The fledgling 18th century government was created to engender “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”: crucially, not happiness itself.

It all starts out so well… Picture: Thinkstock

Yet in the 20th century governments worldwide started trying to maximise national income and minimise unemployment. Witness the hammering politicians receive if gross domestic product starts to falter or the unemployment rate rises.

Now it is fashionable to try to maximise happiness too, rather than simply leave people free to pursue it themselves. As Aldous Huxley foresaw in the 1930s, private happiness has entered the purview of public policy.

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  • Tubesteak says:

    05:35pm | 07/12/12

    Correct. There is ni slaking our lust. Our lust is the epitome of our survival instinct. Without this drive we would have died of starvation in the very lean times because we would not have had the drive to pursue more. Read more »

  • Observant says:

    05:17pm | 07/12/12

    @Economist Your characterisation of the Austrian position is inaccurate and incomplete; it is just wrong. The Austrians are against central banking and currency debasement - the main cause behind decreasing real wages. So you can’t just look at fiscal policy in isolation for this issue, monetary policy analysis is imperative.… Read more »


If nothing else, the upcoming budget week shows us the priorities of the government. We all know by now that this government is increasingly laying its political fortunes at the feet of a budget surplus and hoping that this will continue to drive down interest rates. It is one way that are attempting to deal with the feeling that the cost of living is continuing to rise.

If only buying happiness was this simple. Picture: Thinkstock

There are rarely any major surprises on budget night: sure, the occasional announcement captures us off guard but after weeks of leaks and warnings about ‘tough decisions’, we all know what to expect. Then the sales job begins and we continue on our merry way.

The problem is, however, that a treasurer will never look us in the eye and tell us unpleasant truths. Sure, we are told that it is time we tighten out belts, but never will one admit to the limitations of both their projections or the very flawed models they are working with.

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  • Sanjay says:

    01:51pm | 02/06/12

    on the box, b) that device has crteaed a gigantic web of opposing interests that is almost impossible to untangle, and c) the Rudd government’s hope that it could just buy its way out of that mess was wrong.So the government needs to focus not on building a broadband network,… Read more »

  • TheBigZ says:

    09:57am | 08/05/12

    @ Frederick, Actually the GFC started because the greedy grubs controlling banking in the USA deregulated the mortgage industry to allow them to take advantage of those who could not possibly afford to pay the loans back and when the government approved ponzi scheme collapsed the GFC was the result.… Read more »


My favourite day is Sunday. Maybe it’s because I worked almost every Sunday for a good five years, now when I don’t have to work it still feels a bit like I’m sneaking the day off.

Fridays are obviously fantastic. Although that feeling is amplified on a Thursday if I’ve worked the previous weekend and am staring down the barrel of three days off.

Saturdays have many things going for them, but the feeling of freedom is dampened for me by the ominous thud of a pile of newspapers the size of a house that sometimes sit there all weekend guilting me about the fact I never open the Arts section. And then there’s Tuesday. Blue Tuesday.

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  • deb says:

    07:37am | 13/10/10

    this is the first time i have sat and read the comments thru and had a ball.wonderful,and all because of tuesday?who is tuesday? Read more »

  • Missy Moo says:

    01:03am | 13/10/10

    Best to worst Id have to say is Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday. Tuesday, Monday. Friday is the shiz, 1230 knock off….who doesnt love that. Saturday because of the wonderful sleep in and the stress free day that is ahead. Sunday that last day of relaxation weekends are made for… Read more »


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