Journal of Happiness Studies

, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 267–292 | Cite as

The Mixed Blessings of Material Progress: Diminishing Returns in the Pursuit of Happiness

  • Richard EckersleyEmail author


The progress of nations is widely believed to enhance the happiness of their people. However, whether progress, as currently defined and derived, is increasing happiness and well-being in rich nations is problematic. The paper explores the relationship between economic growth and human development and the use of subjective measures of both life satisfaction and social quality of life as indicators of progress, noting the complex nature of well-being and the differences between personal and social perspectives. It questions whether widely used, simple measures are adequate, and whether greater happiness should, in any case, be regarded as the ultimate goal of progress.

happiness life satisfaction progress quality of life subjective well-being. 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian National University National Centre for Epidemiology and Population HealthAustralia E-mail

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