A new lottery aims to raise the level of General Happiness by randomly introducing ease and self-fulfillment into the general population.
Citizens are chosen on a random basis.
When chosen, they are given a monthly stipend which generously covers all their living expenses.
Winning allows the winner to pursue their dreams. An elaborate advertising campaign aims to induce the feverish dream of winning into the general populace in order to compensate for the envy that will be generated by the few winners living off the public coffers.
The result tends to be, though, that the winners all become batshit crazy.
Winners may spend long amounts of time in public libraries constructing elaborate theories, camp out at coffeehouses regaling those at neighboring tables with stories and advice, and start businesses for things like canary therapy. They take large amounts of time chatting with the clerks in drive-through toll booths and slowing traffic.
All the pleasures, in other words, of an independent income.
The theory was that this would raise the general level of happiness more than it lowers it.
Eventually, however, scientific testing proves that the envy and annoyance of the losers are significant enough to outweigh the happiness of the winners.
The winners are cut off forthwith and forced back to boring day jobs. Some are actually happier given a constructive purpose, however banal. Others are reduced to the most abject states of alienation.
Further testing is required to determine if the entire effort created more misery or happiness.
Prospects for employment for the social scientists whose job is to determine whether General Happiness goes up or down are, however, very good--although the work is often not very satisfying, which is itself a cause for further study.
--E. R. O'Neill