In his essay Darrin MacMahon argues that hopes for happiness in life have increased in Western societies, but that “it is by no means clear that we are happier.” He then consoles us by saying that happiness is not everything and that we should not focus too much on it. While I admire his eloquent account of the history of ideas about happiness, he has missed certain facts about happiness. Some of the conventional wisdom about happiness has been rendered obsolete by recent empirical research.

social change, social cohesion, sociology
Sociology of Economics (jel A14)
Department of Sociology

Veenhoven, R. (2007). The data tell a different story. Retrieved from