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Unhappy Development

I sent this letter yesterday to the New York Times:

Here’s the scariest line
I’ve read in ages: "The era of laissez-faire happiness might be coming
to an end.  Some prominent economists and psychologists are looking
into ways to measure happiness to draw it into the public policy realm"
("All They Are Saying Is Give Happiness a Chance," November 12).

decades ago, many economists – enamored of their increasing ability to
describe statistically existing patterns of production – fancied that a
new age was dawning in which government would improve the lot of
ordinary people by substituting its own production and distribution
"plans" for the results of the market.  These fancies proved to be
dangerous fantasies.  We would all be much better off – happier, even!
– if this new generation of planners are laughed out of the public
arena before their power grows to be as large as their gargantuan

Donald J. Boudreaux


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