Argument: Progressive taxes do not increase happiness
Martin Wolf. "Why progressive taxation is not the route to happiness". Financial Times. 5 Jun. 2007 - Happiness is fashionable these days. Yet should we accept the common view that the new “science” of happiness has cemented the superiority of Scandinavian social democracy over Anglo-Saxon liberalism? The answer is: No. The results are just as destructive to the pious certainties of “progressives” as to those of their opponents.
- Richard Layard of the London School of Economics and the UK’s House of Lords produced an elegant, brief and influential exposition of the new doctrine two years ago. That doctrine itself, as he explains, is a modern reincarnation of Jeremy Bentham’s utilitarianism*.
- What is Professor Layard arguing? First, happiness is the sole goal of human activity. Second, happiness is measurable. Third, we know what makes people happy and unhappy. Finally, policy should aim at achieving the greatest happiness. We will then realise that “there is more to life than prosperity and freedom”. [go to article to read the full analysis]