One way to see the unacceptability of welfare-independent rights is to ask the question ‘why Right X?’ to a very ultimate level. If the answer is ‘Right X because Y’, then one should ask ‘Why Y?’ For example, if the answer to ‘why free speech?’ is that people enjoy free speech, it is already not welfare-independent. If the answer is free speech deters dictatorship’, then we should ask, ‘Why is it desirable to deter dictatorship?’ If one presses hard enough with such questions, most people will eventually come up with a welfare-related answer.
Yew-Kwang Ng, ‘Welfarism and Utilitarianism: A Rehabilitation’, Utilitas, vol. 2, no. 2 (November, 1990), p. 180
I am against the insistence on the purely ordinal measurability of happiness only. In fact, I am not only certain that I am happier now than when I was 30-something, I am also absolutely sure that I am now at least 3 times happier than then. It is difficult to be sure that my happiness now is exactly 3.5 or 4.3 times my happiness then. However, I am pretty sure that it is more than 3 times.
Yew-Kwang Ng, ‘Happiness Studies: Ways to Improve Comparability and Some Public Policy Implications’, The Economic Record, vol. 84, no. 265 (June, 2008), p. 256
[T]he real per capita income of the world now is about 7-8 times that of a century ago. If we proceed along an environmentally responsible path of growth, our great grandchildren in a century will have a real per capita income 5-6 times higher than our level now. Is it worth the risk of environmental disaster to disregard environmental protection now to try to grow a little faster? If this faster growth could be sustained, our great grandchildren would enjoy a real per capita income 7-8 times (instead of 5-6 times) higher than our level now. However, they may live in an environmentally horrible world or may well not have a chance to be born at all! The correct choice is obvious.
Yew-Kwang Ng, ‘Happiness Studies: Ways to Improve Comparability and Some Public Policy Implications’, The Economic Record, vol. 84, no. 265 (June, 2008), pp. 261-262