The Happiness-Income Paradox and Western and Chinese Conceptions of Happiness

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The rapid growth in income during recent decades in China (and other “tiger economies”) has not been accompanied by an increase, but rather a temporary reduction, in the level of self-reported happiness. This so-called happiness-income paradox has caused much discussion, mostly related to happiness economics and research methodology. In this paper, we add a complementary, more philosophical perspective by considering the differences between typically Western conceptions of happiness, which inform the empirical happiness studies that have been used to identify the paradox, and traditional Chinese conceptions, especially that of Confucianism. An examination of the Confucian view of happiness serves both to highlight aspects of a good life that may have been lost during the recent economic boom and to identify deep-rooted cultural assumptions that may still influence the way contemporary Chinese tend to judge the quality of their life.
TidsskriftJournal of East-West Thought
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)27-43
StatusUdgivet - maj 2021


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