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Why it’s impossible to measure happiness

It's a problem philosophers have grappled with for centuries. What makes life go better or worse is varied, personal, and indefinable

By Julian Baggini   November 2018

Portrait of Jeremy Bentham, by Henry William Pickersgill

Back in his all-things-to-all-voters days, before the crash and austerity diverted the young David Cameron from his land of milk and honey, he liked to claim GWB (General Well-Being) trumped GDP. Virtually nothing else survives from the hug-a-hoodie days, but there is a legacy here. Since 2010, the government has been tracking national well-being, by surveying citizens on four questions about how happy, satisfied and anxious they are, and how worthwhile they feel their life is.

No one but a misery…

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