Happiness Is the Wrong Metric

Society 53(3), March 2016

12 Pages Posted: 23 Mar 2016 Last revised: 17 May 2016

See all articles by Amitai Etzioni

Amitai Etzioni

The George Washington University

Date Written: March 22, 2016


People are motivated not only by a quest for satisfaction but also by trying to live up to their sense of what is moral. This sense cannot be reduced to a form of satisfaction, among other reasons because it often engenders pain and sacrifice rather than pleasure. Analysis is enriched when we realize people are moral wrestlers who are pulled by both kinds of motivations. Such a recognition is also useful for public policy. The concept of well-being is a step forward but one must take into account that people can find meaning and purpose in bad behavior from gang-like activities to serving in ISIS.

Suggested Citation

Etzioni, Amitai, Happiness Is the Wrong Metric (March 22, 2016). Society 53(3), March 2016. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2753233 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2753233

Amitai Etzioni (Contact Author)

The George Washington University ( email )

2100 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Suite 4058
Washington, DC 20037
United States

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