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Reflection on happiness and the means of ensuring it is a constant of human thought, at the root of much liberal political theory. Nonetheless, to define the social and political objectives of an active liberalism, we need a notion that anchors the possibilities of human growth to models of social structure: that is to say, a notion that enables us to give substance both to social theories of transformation and to the political theory of liberty. For different reasons, neither the notion of utility nor that of the welfare function suffice to this end: the first because it overlooks rights, the second because it represents a merely descriptive concept and does not allow for value judgments. But the notion of opportunity, of life chances, proves appropriate inasmuch as it corresponds to four prerequisites: a) it is social, in the sense that it does not depend on individual perception; b) it is structural, in the sense that it defines the desired end on the basis of models of social organisation; c) it is historical, insofar as it is social and structural; d) it is theoretical insofar as, in principle, it transcends all existing societies and their known potential. Life chances, in this interpretation, are functions of two elements: options and linkages. Linkages provide meaning and anchorage for people and their actions, while options highlight the scope and horizon of action. Life chances may be broadened not only by pursuing an optimal balance between given options and linkages, but also by increasing both. In reality, the ultimate end of an active search for liberty might be precisely that of promoting this growth of human potential. Liberty is a moral and political prescription, life opportunities are a social concept. Not everyone must be an active liberal; this is one of the basic principles of the open society. But if we take for granted the uncertainty of the human condition, and if we believe that our life on this earth has, or at least must have a meaning, then liberty as the search for broader life chances for a greater number of people is not the worst of objectives.