China Central Television (CCTV) recently published the results of an annual survey which revealed that 44.6 percent of Chinese people feel that they are happy, while only 11.1 percent of those who took part replied that they were either unhappy or very unhappy. Though happiness is mainly self-defined, if there are many people in a country who are unhappy, the government can not remain indifferent.
Fortunately, some local governments have already started planning to do something about it.
This year, Guangdong Province has suggested establishing a "Happy Guangdong" target – which involves the introduction of a series indices.
Governments are indeed able to do something to improve the happiness of their resident citizens.
For example, the state can provide residents with a high quality social security system. Without such a system, citizens won't have much in the way of expectations for the future or feel very happy.
They will worry that their children can't afford a good education, worry that they and their family can't afford to visit the doctor, worry that they can't afford to buy a house and even worry about where their next meal might be coming from.
Governments may also improve people's happiness by protecting the environment.
We all want to live in a place free of air pollution with clean water, instead of in polluted cities littered with rubbish.
None of us want to battle traffic jams – instead we hope to ride on a comfortable yet reasonably-priced public transport system.
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