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  • Open Access
  • © 2018

Happiness is the Wrong Metric

A Liberal Communitarian Response to Populism


  • Offers a new system of belief to serve as an antidote to populism, using principles rather than politics

  • Timely as it addresses the conflict between globalism and nationalism

  • Provides a liberal communitarian response to the rise of populism occurring in many democracies

Part of the book series: Library of Public Policy and Public Administration (LPPP, volume 11)

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 23.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (19 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xxi
  2. What Makes a Good Life

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. Happiness Is the Wrong Metric

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 3-40Open Access
    3. Bring Back the Moral Wrestler

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 41-52Open Access
  3. Human Nature

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 53-53
    2. Crossing the Rubicon

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 55-64Open Access
    3. Moral Dialogues

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 65-86Open Access
    4. Moral Effects of Teaching Economics

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 87-95Open Access
  4. Job Loss & Right Wing Populism

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 97-97
    2. Job Collapse on the Way to New Athens

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 99-124Open Access
    3. Nationalist Populism Is Not an Enemy

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 125-149Open Access
  5. Moral Issues Raised by Individual Rights

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 151-151
    2. Free Speech Versus Safe Space

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 153-160Open Access
    3. The Right to Be Forgotten

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 161-172Open Access
    4. Back to the Pillory?

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 173-180Open Access
    5. Moral Triage

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 181-186Open Access
  6. A Global Dimension

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 187-187
    2. Talking with the Muslim World

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 189-202Open Access
    3. Defining Down Sovereignty

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 203-217Open Access
    4. The Case for Decoupled Armed Interventions

      • Amitai Etzioni
      Pages 219-231Open Access

About this book

This book is open access under a CC BY 4.0 license.

This timely book addresses the conflict between globalism and nationalism. It provides a liberal communitarian response to the rise of populism occurring in many democracies.  The book highlights the role of communities next to that of the state and the market. It spells out the policy implications of liberal communitarianism for privacy, freedom of the press, and much else. In a persuasive argument that speaks to politics today from Europe to the United States to Australia, the author offers a compelling vision of hope.  Above all, the book offers a framework for dealing with moral challenges people face as they seek happiness but also to live up to their responsibilities to others and the common good.

At a time when even our most basic values are up for question in policy debates riddled with populist manipulation, Amitai Etzioni’s bold book creates a new frame which introduces morals and values back into applied policy questions. These questions span the challenges of jobless growth to the unanswered questions posed by the role of artificial intelligence in a wide range of daily life tasks and decisions. While not all readers will agree with the communitarian solutions that he proposes, many will welcome an approach that is, at its core, inclusive and accepting of the increasingly global nature of all societies at the same time. It is a must read for all readers concerned about the future of Western liberal democracy.

Carol Graham, Leo Pasvolsky Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution and College Park Professor/University of Maryland

In characteristically lively, engaging, and provocative style Etzioni tackles many of the great public policy dilemmas that afflict us today. Arguing that we are trapped into a spiral of slavish consumerism, he proposes a form of liberal communitarian that, he suggests, will allow human beings to flourish in changing circumstances.

Jonathan Wolff, Blavatnik Chair of Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford


  • Liberal Communitarianism
  • Communitarianism in a Historical Context
  • Communitarian Economics
  • The Common Good
  • Security and Privacy
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Communitarian Approach to Bioethics
  • Conflict between globalism and nationalism
  • social political communities
  • Liberalism v. Neo-fascism
  • Political Philosophy
  • Political Sociology
  • Social Philosophy
  • Moral Philosophy
  • globalism and nationalism
  • rise of populism occurring in democracies
  • rise of populism
  • liberalism and communitarianism
  • privacy, freedom of the press
  • Open Access

Authors and Affiliations

  • The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA

    Amitai Etzioni

About the author

Amitai Etzioni is a University Professor and Director of the Institute of Communitarian Policy Studies at The George Washington University. He served as a Senior Adviser at the Carter White House and taught at Columbia University for 20 years, as well as Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley. He is the author of The Spirit of Community, The New Golden Rule, From Empire to Community, and The Good Society, among others, as well as scores of academic and popular articles on communitarianism, including in the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 23.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)