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Are We Trading Our Happiness for Modern Comforts?

Arthur C. Brooks: We don’t get happier as our society gets richer, because we chase the wrong things. Consumerocracy, bureaucracy, and technocracy promise us greater satisfaction, but don’t deliver. Consumer purchases promise to make us more attractive and entertained; the government promises protection from life’s vicissitudes; social media promises to keep us connected; but none of these provide the love and purpose that bring deep and enduring satisfaction to life. This is not an indictment of capitalism, government, or technology. They never satisfy — not because they are malevolent, but rather because they cannot. This poses a real dilemma, not just for society, but for each of us as individuals. But properly informed, we are far from defenseless. Here are three principles to help us keep the forces of modern life from ruining our happiness.

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