The â€œTechnology of Happinessâ€ and the Tradition of Economic Science
Luigino Bruni ()
Journal of the History of Economic Thought, 2004, vol. 26, issue 1, 19-44
It is a matter of fact that happiness is once again one of the foci of interest for economists, the â€œprofessors of the dismal scienceâ€ (Carlyle 1850, p. 43). This is also the conviction of the editor of the â€œControversyâ€ on Economics and Happiness in The Economic Journal in 1997: â€œEconomists from different backgrounds â€¦ all believe that happiness must play a more central role in economic science once againâ€ (Dixon 1997, p. 1812). Dixon's thesis is twofold: (a) â€œOnce againâ€ : the reference is to the Neapolitan pubblica felicita (public happiness), developedby Genovesi andothers in the mid-1700s. In fact, Dixon sees a link between the new interest on happiness by contemporary economists andthe XVIII century debate on â€œpublic happinessâ€ in the Latin countries, and in Italy in particular, as he explicitly says in a footnote; (b) â€œMore central roleâ€ according to Dixon, is that happiness nowadays does not play a central role in economics.
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