1. Surveys in Britain and the U.S. show that people are no happier now than in the 1950s – despite massive economic growth.
2. Some societies are much happier than others. For example, if Britain was as happy as Denmark, we would have 2.5 million fewer people who were not very happy and 5 million more who were very happy.
3. Trust is a major determinant of happiness in a society. Levels of trust vary widely between countries. The percentage of people who say “Most people can be trusted” is only 30 per cent of people in the U.K. and U.S., compared to 60 per cent some 40 years ago. But in Scandinavia the level is still over 60 per cent, and these are the happiest countries too.
4. Economic stability has a large effect on the happiness of society, while long-term economic growth has little. Unemployment reduces happiness by…
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