Monday, April 28, 2008

Development and happiness

What de Certeau also says is that “Every society as a whole learns that happiness cannot be equated with development” (Culture in the plural, p. 17). But doesn’t this implicitly suppose a very narrow meaning of “development”? Isn’t it so that we tend to interpret this quotation as if “development” means economic development? Actually it should have been so that in the first place we talk of development just if we mean something that makes us happy. This does not exclude economic development, of course, for everybody knows that economic development can make us happier, and economic development that brings us above a certain basic level surely does. However, everybody knows also about the saying “money does not make happy”. Therefore we cannot say that the more economic development there is, the happier we are. For if that would be true, we simply needed to work harder and harder and we would be in the highest state of happiness at the moment that we died because of our working so hard.

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