Britain's happiness in decline, reports the BBC. Good long article.
Wealth does not = happiness for the simple reason that wealth is a "scarce", finite (at any one time) and rival resource, which must be competed for under the system we have. Sure, c'est la vie to a certain extent - resources are scarce and finite, but the scarcity we now face is entirely an artificial one. By imposing this artificial scarcity, we are forced to struggle. By struggling, we produce. And to produce, we must consume. Struggle is a funny friend and enemy, simultaneously, of happiness.
Happiness, on the whole, though is an infinite, non-rival resource. If I am happy, then you are not necessarily less happy as a consequence. But happiness doesn't lead to progress. In fact, the opposite might well be the case.
For the individual now, the challenge is to recover the grounds for happiness that exist but that are "obscured" by the lives we're "supposed" to live.
For society, the challenge is to translate this into a sustainable system. Key to the solution, I think, is in the happiness-struggle "dichotomy" (that isn't). Responsibility should be the buzzword of the 21st century - responsibility of the individual by the individual. Production should be both sustainable ecologically and personally - that is to say, sanity and happiness need to be maintained as a result. At the moment, things are heading the other way and, in reaction, opposing forces are very much at the other extreme, often.