POLITICS

Brazil To Make "Pursuit of Happiness" a Right

Brazil, home of Carnival, the so-called largest party on Earth, is pushing to protect the right of happiness.

Lawmakers in the South American country want to amend the constitution. They have introduced a bill that make the search for happiness an inalienable right.

It is expected to pass easily in the Senate. The bill would then go to the lower house.

The debate comes a month before Brazil's Carnival, a raucous festival replete with tens of thousands half-naked men and women that Rio officials call the largest party on Earth. 

But supporters say the happiness bill is a serious undertaking despite the revelry, meant to address Brazil's stark economic and social inequalities.

"In Brazil, we've had economic growth without the social growth hoped for," said Mauro Motoryn, the director of the Happier Movement, a non-governmental organization backing the legislation. "With the constitutional amendment, we want to provoke discussion, to seek approval for the creation of conditions in which social rights are upheld."

Similar explorations of officially finding happiness have been pushed by other governments. Both Japan and South Korea include the right to happiness in their constitutions, and earlier this month, the British government detailed plans to begin a $3 million project to measure citizens' well being.

In the early 1970s, the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan pioneered the idea of maintaining a "happiness index." Well before that, the 1776 U.S. Declaration of Independence made its often-noted stand for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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