Freedom and Happiness: Does Freedom Make People Happy?
Keywords:Freedom, Happiness, Liberty, political prisoner, tradition, value, Utilitarianism, Freedom House, Happy Planet Index, World Values Survey
The article analyzes the relationship between freedom and happiness, in particular whether freedom makes people happy. The problem of freedom and happiness in the modern world affects the life of every person. Utilitarians argue that freedom, understood as the absence of constraints, increases people's happiness, as J. S. Mill argued in On Liberty. More recently there have been a number of empirical studies examining whether happiness levels are higher in societies that have more liberty. These studies are critically examined and some of the difficulties of establishing whether it is liberty or some other closely-related phenomena, such as democracy or development, that cause happiness are discussed. The article presents data from Freedom House and the Happy Planet Index to attempt to determine the effect of liberty on happiness. This enables us to determine the place of freedom in the hierarchy of values and understand its place in society and its significance for the individual.
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