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Maybe Money Does Buy Happiness After All

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  • Maybe Money Does Buy Happiness After All

    People in poor countries, not surprisingly, did become happier once they could afford basic necessities. But beyond that, further gains simply seemed to reset the bar. To put it in today’s terms, owning an iPod doesn’t make you happier, because you then want an iPod Touch. Relative income — how much you make compared with others around you — mattered far more than absolute income, Mr. Easterlin wrote....

    But now the Easterlin paradox is under attack.


    Also the accompanying map is quite interesting.

  • #2
    I found this article very interesting. Especially, it first talks about the rapid economic growth of country I grew up. I was born in 1965 in Japan, so I have memories from around 1970. Japan was still poor, but it has recovered damages from WWII. Some people say it was the best time because everyone was working hard to make their lives better and it actually was happening to everyone. I remember days we didn't have a phone in our house. TV was still black and white, and we didn't have an oven nor microwave. When I was small, my mother cleaned our apartment with a bloom because we didn't have a vacuum. I also remember obtaining these appliances one by one. Especially, the day we bought a color TV!! Boy, that was exciting LOL

    However, after getting all these things, life was back to normal, and the standard of living was reset. After Japan started perceived as a "rich" country, people seemed to get lost. Their goal was accomplished, but "now what?" was the common feeling. I think that's what Mr. Easterlin is talking about.

    So, yes, money makes people happier, up to certain point.

    To me, these two arguments are the same, just looking at things in different ways. While Stevenson and Wolfers are comparing satisfaction among countries, Easterlin is comparing satisfaction within one country. It is like you look around and think "I'm doing ok compared to my neighbors" but compared to your past, let's say 5 years ago, you may not be more satisfied because you have a mortgage and kids to take care of.

    Anyway, here's a quote by my friend. I still remember what she said to me 20 years ago.
    "Money cannot buy happiness, but it can buy things that make me happy." Amen to that.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Maismom View Post
      "Money cannot buy happiness, but it can buy things that make me happy." Amen to that.
      +1000. I wish I had the cheddar to buy myself nice things....LOL.