What is the point of prosperity?
Though few people ever voice this question openly, the general assumption is that prosperity and wealth increase happiness. The pursuit of happiness (famously grouped with “life” and “liberty” in the Declaration of Independence as an inalienable right) has become the pursuit of prosperity and wealth.
That physical comfort and security grease the skids of happiness is self-evident; living a hand-to-mouth existence inside a cardboard box is not as conducive to human happiness as having a comfortable home and secure income.
But it is equally self-evident that a secure dwelling and income do not guarantee happiness; rather, they provide the physical foundation for the much more elusive qualities of happiness. We can make the same distinction between the civil liberties that underpin the pursuit of happiness and the actual pursuit of happiness.
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