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Happiness is the right metric to measure good societal functioning

Cummins, Robert A. 2016, Happiness is the right metric to measure good societal functioning, Society, vol. 53, no. 3, pp. 273-277, doi: 10.1007/s12115-016-0011-y.

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Title Happiness is the right metric to measure good societal functioning
Author(s) Cummins, Robert A.ORCID iD for Cummins, Robert A. orcid.org/0000-0001-9014-7193
Journal name Society
Volume number 53
Issue number 3
Start page 273
End page 277
Total pages 5
Publisher Springer
Place of publication New York, N.Y.
Publication date 2016-06
ISSN 0147-2011
1936-4725
Keyword(s) happiness
subjective wellbeing
life satisfaction
homeostasis
society
resources
Summary Professor Etzioni argues that ‘happiness’ is ‘the wrong metric’ as a measure of a good society. He argues from the perspective of Communitarian Philosophy and uses two kinds of happiness evidence. One is correlational results from survey data and the other concerns ‘self-actualization’ as the highest-order need proposed by Maslow. Unfortunately, both kinds of evidence are flawed for this purpose. First, contemporary understanding of happiness allows a different perspective from the one depicted. Second, correlational results from cross-sectional studies cannot be used to conclude causation. Third, the construct of self-actualization has been discredited as having scientific validity. Overall, Etzioni’s argument rests on an outdated conception of happiness and the invalid interpretation of scientific evidence. It is concluded that happiness is the right metric by which to judge a successful society, as long as the nature of measured happiness is understood.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s12115-016-0011-y
Field of Research 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified
1608 Sociology
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30086825

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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