By David Alexander Clark (eds.)
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Extra info for Adaptation, Poverty and Development: The Dynamics of Subjective Well-Being
2 By happiness Layard means ‘feeling good – enjoying life and wanting the feeling to continue’ and by unhappiness he means ‘feeling bad – and wishing things were different’ (Layard, 2005, p. 12). He explicitly defends Bentham’s principle as follows: ‘the right action is the one which produces the greatest overall happiness’ (Layard, 2005, p. 112). A range of critiques of utilitarianism have been advanced in modern philosophical literature. One of these refers to ‘adaptation’ and it has been articulated in different forms by Jon Elster (1982, 1983) as well as by Amartya Sen (1980, 1984, 1985, 1999 inter alia) and Martha Nussbaum (1988, 2000).
Helson, H. (1964), ‘Current trends and issues in adaptation-level theory’, American Psychologist, t 19(1): 26–38. Holling, C. S. (1973), ‘Resilience and stability of ecological systems’, Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, 4: 1–23. Hulme, D. and J. Toye (2006), ‘The case for cross-disciplinary social science research on poverty, inequality and well-being’, Journal of Development Studies, 42(7): 1085–107. Hulme, D. and Toye, D. (eds) (2007), Understanding Poverty and Well-Being: Bridging the Disciplines, London: Routledge.
In agreement with previous studies, it is found that income aspirations increase with both personal actual income and the incomes of proximate others (the reference group). There is also a positive relationship between actual and aspired education. However, the analysis shows that people aspire to more rather than less health when greater proportions of proximate others are ill or disabled. These results suggest that the process of adaptation may not be robust across dimensions of well-being in poor countries.
Adaptation, Poverty and Development: The Dynamics of Subjective Well-Being by David Alexander Clark (eds.)