Monday, August 14, 2006

CLICHE WATCH: Does money = happiness?

The Daily Irk has previously taken up the relationship between wealth and health, and now turns towards wealth and happiness, of which there is actually a good deal of psychological literature. When all is said and done, it seems that once we move beyond the territory where basic needs are taken care of, wealth is a non-factor in predicting subjective levels of life happiness. People in nations where the the GNP is above $8000 per person report virtually the same degrees of life satisfaction. Likewise, while the filthy rich (we're talking Forbes 100 wealthiest range) do report being being slightly happier than your average Joe, the difference is pretty infinitesmal, and qualitatively, their enormous wealth certainly doesn't serve as a buffer against unhappiness. Finally, it seems that people get accustomed to their increases in financial well-being pretty quickly, such that a change in circumstances only has a positive effect on general happiness for the short term. Win the lotto and you'll pretty quickly just get used to your new lifestyle rather than feeling continually giddy at the material fortune you enjoy. People that predict an increase in personal wealth as the key to a better life are likely wrong, but then so was rapper Notorious B.I.G. when he predicted mo' money mo' problems.


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