Is it plausible to think of happiness not as a state of mind or a state of the pocketbook, but as an actual sovereign state? Many surveys lead us down that path. In study after study on national happiness levels, my country, the Philippines, gets unlikely top scores. The World Values Survey published by the University of Michigan last November ranked 82 countries and territories according to feelings of "subjective well-being"—which combined its happiness and "life-satisfaction" scores—and the Philippines had one of the highest ratings in Asia, above far richer locations such as Taiwan, Japan and South Korea. A few years...
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