What things does a society need in order for it to be successful and have happy citizens? Based on these criteria, do you think the animals in Animal Farm are better off now, ruling themselves, or before when Mr. Jones was their leader?
One criteria that is a necessary condition for a happy and successful society is a suitable living space. A landscape with a decent climate, fertile soil, plentiful food supply, and a source of water are necessary. In Chapter 1, Old Major concludes that the animals do have this. He says:
The soil of England is fertile, its climate is good, it is capable of affording food in abundance to an enormously greater number of animals than now inhabit it. This single farm of ours would support a dozen horses, twenty cows, hundreds of sheep — and all of them living in a comfort and a dignity that are now almost beyond our imagining.
A second criteria for a successful society is that the animals (or people) have reasonable work hours, enough food to eat, enough time to sleep, and enough leisure time to enjoy life.
A third criteria would be a set of commandments or a set of beliefs which a community agrees or votes upon. These values should ensure that individuals and society as a whole will continue to have happy successful lives.
A fourth criteria is a leader, a set of leaders, or a governing body or institution that puts the needs of the entire community first. This institution must make the happiness of the community its main concern.
In the novel, the animals do not have reasonable work hours nor enough food under the leadership of Mr. Jones. When the animals take over the farm, they do have better living conditions, but only for a short time. Eventually, their conditions become as bad as they were under Mr. Jones.
Old Major's original commandments were established to sustain a better way of life for the animals. But as the pigs grew more greedy, they changed the commandments to suit their wants and increasing power. Had they stayed loyal to the original commandments, the animals' lives would have been better.
Similarly, when the pigs first take control, they establish better conditions for the animals. But Napoleon ousts Snowball, the pigs gain increasingly more power, and the lives of the animals grow steadily worse. The result is a community as impoverished as it was under Mr. Jones.
The bottom line is that, in the end, the living conditions became just as bad under the pigs' leadership as they had been under the leadership of Mr. Jones. Other than the landscape, which does not change, the pigs abandon the other three criteria.