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Policies for Happiness$
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Stefano Bartolini, Ennio Bilancini, Luigino Bruni, and Pier Luigi Porta

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198758730

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198758730.001.0001

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Public Happiness and Relational Goods

Public Happiness and Relational Goods

That Crucial Link that Economics and Policy Often Forget

(p.263) 12 Public Happiness and Relational Goods
Policies for Happiness

Luigino Bruni

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that the relational dimension is increasingly becoming a key issue in our multi-ethnic societies, and most of the future political debate on urban cohabitation, job satisfaction, the governance of global commons, caring, elderly people will be centered on relationships and not only on individual variables and status such as income and consumption. Economics, among the social sciences, is the less well equipped in terms of capacity of understanding relationships, being since its neoclassical foundations at the end of the nineteenth century focused on individual choices or aggregate variables. But relationships are neither individual choices nor aggregate variables, being a sort of third way among the two, and so most difficult to analyze with either purely individualistic or purely holistic paradigms.

Keywords:   relationships, individualism, holism, multi-ethnic societies, economic thought

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