All too many of its practitioners chafe at the restriction that economics is a positive subject (describing what is) rather than a normative one (what ought to be). This is the explanation for the World Happiness report, where two distinguished, elderly and shockingly right-on economists, Jeffrey Sachs and Richard Layard, get to tell us how it ought to be. Layard, let us not forget, is on record as deciding that earning over £12,000 a year is a form of pollution and those that do so should be subject to a stinging 30 per cent supplementary tax rate. Because of equality, or something. There is somewhere between very little and nothing of objectivity in this report. It is announced that less happiness inequality makes a place happier. Really? There’s an entire chapter on how we need to have a new non-religious religion for all. Having children makes us unhappy: one wonders why we’ve bothered all these generations. We might well all be happier if we left the elderly to their delusions that all is going to the dogs, and simply went off and did what makes us happy.