Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Money Brings Happiness, Part 2

Yes, there is a correlation between happiness and income. In societies there is a positive association between income produced (the gross domestic product) and life satisfaction. But the relationship is not as neat as you may have supposed (more money means more happiness).

What's my evidence? Here are a few of the online information sources you may uncover in your own brief search:




They all cover varying aspects of the rather complicated relatiohship between money and happiness. But this only takes us half way through the what I wanted to cover today.

We should consider what functions idea that money brings happiness might serve for society. Maybe the idea just survives for no particular reason. Maybe the fantasy implied in the idea - great wealth and great happiness - simply amuses enough people to keep the idea alive. I think that, just maybe, there are stronger sociological reasons for the idea to persist

1. It gives people hope, even if it is false hope, that there lives can get better.

2. The belief produces jobs for financial planners.

3. The belief provides opportunities for lottery and gambling revenue, as well as related jobs.

4. The belief helps to sell plenty of books and magazines.

I also think that the idea has a significant dark side to it. Specifically, believing that money brings happiness can lead to:

1. Poor people wasting vast amounts of time and money on lotteries.

2. Instrumental relationships with men. Women want access to the good things that come with plenty of money (or credit, but what's the difference?) so they try to land a man with plenty of money. (and men find it acceptrable to use their resources to attract multiple sex partners.)

3. Amoral reasoning - Men and women tend to accept behavior like that described above, without passing judgement. Moral reasoning tends to be set aside in business because moral may reduce growth and profitability.

4. People are encouraged to waste time fantasizing about how great life would be if...they won the lottery, they had a much higher salary, some rich relative would croak tomorrow, et cetera.

Next time: Is believing in fate or destiny a good idea and how would we know?


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