Annals of the Fondazione Luigi Einaudi

An Interdisciplinary Journal of Economics, History and Political Science

The Annals is a forum for the free exchange of ideas
among scholars working in the field of social sciences
Volume LIII 2 - 2019

Happiness, Human Development and Economic (De)Growth

Maurizio Pugno,
pp. 151-172
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Happiness is not just a pleasurable experience to pursue as a goal, as hedonism prescribed. Human development does not simply mean health, formal education, and economic growth, as the UNDP’s index suggests. This paper proposes a new definition of ‘human development’: an increase in individual human skills that interact with the social and economic context in order to enable people to be the agents of their own lives, and then happy because satisfied with themselves. The hedonistic happiness-as-a-goal and this happiness-as-a-process are thus distinguished as two pathways to happiness with different properties and implications. The paper finally argues that while degrowth, as advocated for ecological reasons, may damage human development, policies for individual human development can encourage ecological behaviour.