Happiness Depends Most on Being Free to Choose

(p. 27) Getting richer is not the only or even the best way of getting happier. Social and political liberation is far more effective, says the political scientist Ronald Ingleheart: the big gains in happiness come from living in a society that frees you to make choices about your lifestyle – about where to live, who to marry, how to express your sexuality and so on. It is the increase in free (p. 28) choice since 1981 that has been responsible for the increase in happiness recorded since then in forty-five out of fifty-two countries. Ruut Veenhoven finds that ‘the more individualized the nation, the more citizens enjoy their life.’

Source:
Ridley, Matt. The Rational Optimist: How Prosperity Evolves. New York: Harper, 2010.

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