It's not a disconnect between utility and happiness, its a disconnect between revealed preference and happiness. And a disconnect between revealed preference and happiness is properly solved via educating people to become their best selves—I do not think it poses grave philosophical conundrums: Noah Smith: What We Want Doesn’t Always Make Us Happy: "Facebook users in order to get them to deactivate the Facebook app for one or two months. They found that the median amount was $100, and the average was $180 (the latter being larger because a few users really loved Facebook). This suggests that Facebook, which is free to use, generates a huge amount of utility—more than $370 billion a year in consumer surplus in the U.S. alone. This bolsters the argument of those who believe that free digital services have added a lot of unmeasured output to the global economy. But Allcott et al. also found that the people who deactivated Facebook as part of the experiment were happier afterward...

...Why are people willing to pay so much money for something that reduces their happiness? One possibility is that social media acts like an addictive drug—in fact, the people Allcott et al. paid to deactivate Facebook ended up using it less after the experiment was over.... Daniel J. Benjamin, Ori Heffetz, Miles S. Kimball, and Alex Rees-Jones found that on surveys, people usually predict that the things they say they’d pay money for would also boost their happiness—but not always.

So what should society do about the disconnect between utility and happiness?... Basing policy on happiness surveys might also be a mistake if these surveys aren’t good measures of true happiness. Such surveys might reflect cultural expectations.... But it also unwise to simply dismiss the disconnect between happiness and utility simply because happiness is hard to measure. If people are consistently making mistakes that lead to a less happy society, it’s a problem that should be addressed. Bentham and the original utilitarians would demand no less....


#noted

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