Religious leaders and Spiritual Gurus were wrong. As it turns out, money does make you happier.
A study done in 2004 by Ed Deiner and martin Seligman entitled “Beyond Money: Toward an Economy of Well-Being” discovered that money can buy happiness, and—on average—often does.
But only for the poor.
The study revealed that there was a direct correlation between money and happiness in societies that have a per capita income of $10,000 or less. Societies making less than this are on average less happy. Societies with a per capita income of $5,000 are less happy than $7,000, and so on.
But the correlation stops at $10,000. That means that communities that have $10,000 per capita are just as happy as those communities with $100,000 per capita.
In his book, “Deep Economy” Bill McKibben notes that since more money doesn’t necessarily make the already wealthy happier, why do we put so much time and energy into creating more and more resources for ourselves?
McKibben argues that since More doesn’t equal Happy then we should begin to question the momentum of our economic policy that is bent on always, always pursuing More over Better. It’s irrational, he argues, to keep pursuing More just because that’s what we’ve always done.
But I know why people continue to pursue wealth even if it doesn’t make us happier. I know why we stockpile and work and earn and produce and consume. It’s not to make us happier.
It’s to make us powerful. It's to make us strong. It's to make us safe.
What would you rather be? Happy and in danger or Secure and sad?
Either way, apparently, the extreme poor have neither.
Posted on Tue, May 13, 2008