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(The Atlantic)   Science: "Why yes, money does buy happiness"   (theatlantic.com) divider line 75
    More: Obvious, Real GDP, ethnic backgrounds, social change, household incomes, life satisfaction, basic needs  
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7296 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Jan 2013 at 9:48 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-11 09:08:26 AM
Of course it does. But that doesn't mean you HAVE to be rich to be happy. Some people are happy living in a mansion with more toys than most countries. And some people are happy living in a converted closet with a foldout bed, a bong, a gaming console or PC and an internet connection. Me personally, I don't need 80 butlers all named Jeeves serving me endangered condor egg omelets with a side of spotted owl for breakfast every morning with diamond dinnerware. But I was dirt poor for a time and frankly it's great being able to pay bills and buy something without crunching numbers for 48 hours straight trying to budget an extra 8 cents so I can afford another toothbrush.

Those graphs above number 6 gave me a Rorschach test moment as Greece looked like a happy couple doing the wheelbarrow.
 
2013-01-11 09:16:00 AM
Money doesn't necessarily buy happiness, but it certainly allows you to rent it for a while
 
2013-01-11 09:27:45 AM
Money doesn't directly buy happiness, but it sure eliminates worries and buys options.

Your car breaks down, you can afford to take it to a mechanic and take a cab to work (and you probably can afford a pretty reliable car to begin with).  You're working a decent salaried job where you're not to have your paycheque cut (or get fired) for being late due to an emergency.  You can live in a safe area. You can eat a wide variety of delicious and healthy foods, and you're not limited to how many groceries you can carry walking home. You can wear nicer clothes and be taken more seriously. You can study what interests you the most, and have an easier time getting good grades because you're not working three jobs to pay for it. You can go out to a restaurant when your friends get together. Your kids can do extra-curricular things with their friends, like learning to ski, or travelling to other countries, so they grow up happier and with more options too.

Money doesn't make you a *better* person, but it certainly makes life easier.
 
2013-01-11 09:41:46 AM
Show me someone who thinks money doesn't buy happiness and I'll show you someone who grew up with money.
 
2013-01-11 09:49:58 AM

sigdiamond2000: Show me someone who thinks money doesn't buy happiness and I'll show you someone who grew up with money.


or, I'll show you a poor person who is trying to comfort himself in the propaganda given to him by the rich...
 
2013-01-11 09:51:31 AM
Money can buy happiness if it could buy me some Zooey time
 
2013-01-11 09:52:33 AM
Money doesn't buy happiness....money buys FREEDOM

What you DO with that freedom is what determines how happy you will be
 
2013-01-11 09:54:56 AM
I'd rather be rich than poor if only for the financial reasons.
 
2013-01-11 09:57:39 AM
Time to tackle this blonde/fun thing...
 
2013-01-11 09:57:58 AM
Boobies bring happiness and money buys boobies, so yeah.
 
2013-01-11 09:58:43 AM
I've tried zero money, barely enough to get by, enough to get by, and now enough that I can have a house and pay all my bills and have plenty left over. The last one is by far the best. alwaysjaded hit it in the first. It's not the money itself, it's not having to worry so much. I don't have to pay close attention to my spending because I rarely overspend and when I do, I've got savings to cover and I can tighten up the next month. If my bills are high one month it's no sweat. If my car breaks down I can fix it. I had a lot of months when I was younger where I had budgeted for every penny of my next two paychecks and then car would need to be fixed or some other unexpected expense and it was "which bill(s) can I afford to let slide". I aint rich but I've got the essentials plus entertainment. Coming from a very modest upbringing it always stuns me when I hear people with million dollar house crying that they can't make ends meet. It's because they're doing it wrong.
 
2013-01-11 09:59:37 AM
I've always thought that was the most stupid saying ... obviously, having money makes it easier to be happy. This is common sense. There's no explanation needed. I'm sure that, statistically, some wealthy people are not happy. Of course, they would be a hell of a lot more unhappy if they were poor. Ridiculous saying.
 
2013-01-11 09:59:57 AM

japlemon: Money doesn't buy happiness....money buys FREEDOM

What you DO with that freedom is what determines how happy you will be


I make enough that I have the freedom to take a 30% pay cut to switch jobs and do something I love. I certainly make more money hating my job every day, but I don't think it's worth it.
 
2013-01-11 10:01:01 AM
Money buys freedom to pursue your interests. Wisdom gives you the ability to use that freedom to the benefit of yourself and those around you. These two definitely can combine to create happiness, but it's one of many routes.
 
2013-01-11 10:01:02 AM

DammitIForgotMyLogin: Money doesn't necessarily buy happiness, but it certainly allows you to rent it for a while


Came to say the exact same thing.
 
2013-01-11 10:01:23 AM
Money does not buy happiness. You can rent it, though.
 
2013-01-11 10:01:53 AM
anyone that says money doesn't buy happiness is selling something.

www.averagemarrieddad.com
 
2013-01-11 10:02:19 AM
Dammit, missed the second post.
 
2013-01-11 10:05:24 AM

sigdiamond2000: Show me someone who thinks money doesn't buy happiness and I'll show you someone who grew up with money.


Show me someone who thinks money does buy happiness and I'll show you someone who grew up without .

This isn't really news - studies have consistently shown that people without money get happier as they get more, but only up to a point, If I recall correctly, the actual numbers are somewhere around an income level of 60K per year in the modern US.

** checks article ***

Happiness plateau is bunk? Hrmmm.... Imma attribute that to the difference between aggregate and individual measurements. Or maybe I'm just misremembering what I thought I knew. So confused....

One thing I remember for sure is that while money does buy happiness (whether or not it is only to a certain point) it does so by first taking care of basic needs, and then increasing the availability and incidence of time and activities with family and friends
 
2013-01-11 10:07:22 AM
Money doesn't buy happiness if you spend 60 hours a week at work and die of a heart attack by 40.
 
2013-01-11 10:07:34 AM

The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves: Boobies bring happiness and money buys boobies, so yeah.


So . . . you'd use your extra money to get yourself breast enlargement surgery? Chacun a son gout.
 
2013-01-11 10:11:35 AM
 
2013-01-11 10:13:33 AM
Here he is, folks - the happiest man in the world:

s3.jrnl.ie
 
2013-01-11 10:19:36 AM
Well it can't buy love. Only grinding poverty can do that!
 
2013-01-11 10:22:09 AM
Money buys bacon
and
Bacon makes me happy
Therefore
Money buys happiness
 
2013-01-11 10:29:04 AM
Anyone who says money doesn't buy happiness has never called an airport, had their airplane pulled out of the hangar onto the ramp, precooled/preheated, jumped in, flew to Jackson Hole, had a precooled/preheated rental car pull up to your airplane just as you're parking it and few minutes later enjoyed pizza and wine at Dornan's with the most incredible view in the world. Yes, money does buy happiness.
 
2013-01-11 10:29:21 AM

kvinesknows: Money can buy happiness if it could buy me some Zooey time


Franny will be so disappointed.
 
2013-01-11 10:30:21 AM
It buys a lot of 100LL and Jet A
 
2013-01-11 10:36:30 AM
Money can't *buy* happiness, but the lease terms are favorable.
 
2013-01-11 10:39:22 AM
Used to buy it all the time, then Houston vice got bored and shiat down all the ho houses
 
2013-01-11 10:41:50 AM
cause you don't have to go to work nor worry about bills n such?
 
2013-01-11 10:42:42 AM
I'm sorry but this reads a little differently to me:

When everyone can participate in the economy - monetize their gifts and their wants - then nations become happier.

I think that part of the issue in the US is that we conflate fiscal and moral merit.
 
2013-01-11 10:45:18 AM
It's already been said... But here's my take...

Money isn't the be all end all, but try living without it.

We just spent the past two weeks trying to scrape by on what we had until my next paycheck finally came in this morning. Between Xmas and my son's birthday, we had to spand pretty much every penny we had. Well, not "pretty much". Our account was -$3.00 yesterday. I even cashed in all my change just to get enough to buy food for the kids lunches.
We can only hope that the check that I just got will hold us over for the next two weeks.

We live on a check-to-check basis like many people. In this case, the timing was really bad because I just started this new job, and had to go 3 weeks on something like $800. That's not a lot for a family of 4. And there were utility bills due that took away from it.

Hopefully, we are finally sliding in to a position where we can pay our bills, and actually have something left over so we don't have to scrape the bottom of the barrel again.


So in my case I would deffinitely say that money could buy me some happiness.
 
Ant
2013-01-11 10:46:09 AM
Duh! It's not so much the money as it is having more control over your own life.
 
2013-01-11 10:48:55 AM
Not only can money buy happiness, you'd be surprised just how inexpensive happiness can be.

neversubmit: Well it can't buy love. Only grinding poverty can do that!


I beg to differ.  Money can buy love, affection and, oddly enough, fidelity.

It always comes to the money part - sooner or later - no money=sooner  Lotta cash=later - how much later is in direct relationship to the amount of cash.

it's a schitty world - but it's all we've got.
 
2013-01-11 10:51:20 AM

trippdogg: Here he is, folks - the happiest man in the world:


Possibly THIS billionaire is ....

blogs-images.forbes.com

www.boatdesign.net


ut-images.s3.amazonaws.com


1.bp.blogspot.com

cdn2.elitedaily.com

GIS Richard Branson and you will see, the dude is ALWAYS having a good time.
 
2013-01-11 10:54:01 AM
Nah. Security and freedom = happiness, and money just happens to be the current means of obtaining those things.
 
2013-01-11 10:56:59 AM
FTA:But every next dollar won't buy the same amount of happiness. The straight line can be deceptive at first blush. The graph is *not* telling you that every next $1,000 on your paycheck is worth the same gains in satisfaction. Instead, the relationship is logarithmic.

This is why tax systems should be (and are) progressive. Just replace "happiness" and "satisfaction" with lifestyle/security. It's all the same.
 
2013-01-11 10:57:16 AM

Marcintosh: Not only can money buy happiness, you'd be surprised just how inexpensive happiness can be.
neversubmit: Well it can't buy love. Only grinding poverty can do that!

I beg to differ.  Money can buy love, affection and, oddly enough, fidelity.

It always comes to the money part - sooner or later - no money=sooner  Lotta cash=later - how much later is in direct relationship to the amount of cash.

it's a schitty world - but it's all we've got.


Should I have put a sarcasm tag with it? No wait, think it in professor farnsworth's voice.
 
2013-01-11 10:58:12 AM
Almost no one is happy in extreme poverty, but personally speaking the quality of relationships, freedom of time and choice, and having meaningful engaging work are more important than money when not in poverty.
 
2013-01-11 11:00:17 AM
"Of course money buys happiness...have you ever seen a sad person on a Jet Ski?"
 
2013-01-11 11:12:09 AM
Actually, the Gallup Poll used in the original paper did not measure happiness, but something else. This is the question people were asked:

"Please imagine a ladder with steps numbered from zero at the bottom
to 10 at the top. Suppose we say that the top of the ladder represents
the best possible life for you, and the bottom of the ladder represents
the worst possible life for you. On which step of the ladder would you
say you personally feel you stand at this time?"

Someone can be quite happy with their life and still want to improve it, and can see improvements that could make their lives better, even if their happiness level would stay the same. In my opinion, this paper does not erfute previous findings.

And we haven,t discuss the fasct that some of these countries are plagued with wars, political instability and so forth. You can live happily, but still wish your life was better.
 
2013-01-11 11:15:28 AM
One of the graphs shows data for "West Germany"??

Jeebus, just how old is this data anyway?

Or should I say, how dumb is the researcher who used that label post-1989?
 
2013-01-11 11:15:51 AM
[A]fter basic needs are met, relative rather than absolute income levels influence well-being.

This is why we should have a socio-capitalist system. Everyone should be given enough money from the gov't to have their basic needs met (food, shelter, entertainment, transportation, communication), then, whoever wants something *better* has to work. This also explains why both communism and capitalism (both in the colloquial senses) don't work and ultimately fail spectacularly.

Unfortunately, the last US Senator to seriously propose such a solution was assassinated.

Universal Basic Income should be a human right.
 
2013-01-11 11:20:05 AM
Well, DUH
 
2013-01-11 11:20:08 AM
Seeing as the article says "People with more money have higher reported well-being, they say, all the way up to the top 10 percent of earners." the claim that the Keeping Up with the Jones effect doesn't work is doubtful at best. It would be precisely in the top 10% (the upper middle classes and the rich) that the Keeping Up with the Jones Effect has been observed for a couple of centuries at least.

People in different social classes are more or less invidious. The camaraderie of the local pub disappears among the Nimbies.

Also, those graphs show considerable variability over space and time. About half of the countries shown are happier than pure income and wealth would suggest while half are more likely to be miserable sods.

Money can buy a measure of contentment, but it can not prevent a rich man from being a miserable sod or a poor man from being happy-go-lucky and inclined naturally to cheerfulness and contentment. There is tremendous variation in psychology and in politics in this world, and some countries are, despite rapidly increasing wealth and incomes, still too farked-up to be as happy as their material well-being would warrant, while other places seem to benefit from perpetual sunshine, possibly literally.

In short, same old, same old seems to apply.

The logarhymic relationship between income and happiness suggest that economist got it right long ago with the idea of the declining marginal utility of the dollar (or properly, the pound sterling, since the early liberal economists were mostly British, an intellectual response to the Industrial Revolution and to advanced agrarian development in the UK well before the Industrial Revolution spread to Belgium, Germany and France, let alone the US). Remember that in 1848, the US was burning mostly wood while coal had already begun to power steam engines and railway locomotives across Western Europe but primarily in the UK and the most coal-rich areas of Germany and elsewhere).

Doubling your income from $30 billion to $60 billion (nearing Bill Gates and Carlos Slim territory) may not produce as much satisfaction as doubling your income from $1,000 a year to $2,000 a year. It certainly won't increase your essential well-being (food security, health, life-expectancy, social status) by as much.

At the very top of the income, wealth and social prestige scales, keeping up with the Jones and Smiths is not a game--it is the only game, the way that golf or soccer or cricket is the only game for the lower orders of the merely rich or comfortable.

It would take a lot more money to make me permanently more content and happy compared what it takes to increase the happiness of the $1 a day crowd in India or Africa. You can buy a heap of happiness for very little money. Just look at the little poor girl nicknamed "Goody Two Shoes" in the original children's tale. She wasn't so much righteous as very happy to finally have a matching pair of shoes rather than hobbling around in one shoe.

My Mother was outraged that a nearby poor woman didn't send her children to school very regularly and gave her a piece of her mind. What my Mother did not know, but which I did, was that the children did not have enough shoes for them all to go to school at the same time (yes, they were that poor--this was in a small village and they were as poor as Kenny McCormick and his family, if not more so).

You can't send your children to school without shoes.

This, in fact, illustrates Adam Smith, the great liberal moralist and economist's relative definition of poverty as the want of those commodities that are considered necessary to even the meanest (poorest) person in a given society. Smith was a liberal in both the economic (European) and social (American-Canadian) sense of the word.

He recognized that in a country like England (and today many other countries), not having shoes is impossible for respectable people, even the poor and destitute. If you send your children to school shoeless, they will be persecuted and authorities will punish you all, possibly by taking the children into foster homes. Even the very poor don't want to lose their children as waifs of the State. They love them and they know all too well what sort of conditions "charity" and "state charity" impose on the very poor.

Some people who call themselves conservatives (but who lack the compassion and common sense of the ordinary "Purple State" conservative) insist on an absolute definition of poverty which is as close to complete destitution as they dare to fly, but Smith was a compassionate (and liberal) man and thus recognized that you are poor if you are contemptible because of want or need. He would probably have drawn a poverty line that takes into account that in some "free" public schools, your children will be taunted and tormented if they don't go to school in $200 or $300 sports-branded shoes.

Thus, in some societies, poverty includes people who would be rich in other societies. A man who is poor in Manhatten might be rich in Maine and would certainly be rich among the poor of Mali or even Nigeria.

To quote Thackerey's Becky Sharp, "It is easy to be virtuous on ten thousand (pounds sterling) a year."

At least it was when ten thousand a year was worth over US$500,000 today and most people were living on Third World incomes, even the middle classes.

My genealogical research and general reading about history and other subjects tells me that even in the US and Canada, our ancestors were very poor compared to us even in the go-ahead 1800s.

Wills, estate inventories and other documents of the well-to-do and rich suggest that even the well-off farmers and merchants had very few possessions. One of my direct male line ancestors, for example, was involved in a court case over the theft of some possessions his family brought with them from France. This included a couple of pewter flower vases, some plates, bowls, spoons, knives etc. Very scanty luxuries by today's standards when so many people have rooms, closests and cupboards full of things they don't need, some of them quite luxurious.

And this was a well-off household. Not rich, but not poor by any means. The rich had gold dishes, candelabra, cutlery and ornaments; the not so rich silver; the middle classes had some pewter; and the poor were lucky to have whittled wood bowls and spoons. There was a time when forks were unknown and you would eat your meals with your own spoon and your own knife, even in the castles of the landowning gentry and lords. The rare bits of silver and pewter than people inherit from the 1700s are often ALL of the pewter and silver there ancestors had, and the same is true of homemade wood furniture and other items. Instead of closets full of clothes, a trunk or two was likely to hold all the linens and clothes a family was not using.

One of my ancestors inherited a suit of clothes from Sieur Samuel de Champlain. The Founder of Canada had seventeen changes of clothes and my ancestor got one of the new ones that the Founder had made shortly before he died in 1636 (IIRC). Lucky man! (Almost everybody in Champlain's will is an ancestor of mine, by the way, except his wife, a cousin back in France, and some members of religious orders. Champlain's world was smaller than the village that I lived in as a child, above.)

This tells me a lot about life in the 1600s. The Governor was not a rich man by today's middle class standards. What money he had went into trying to build New France. He made about 200 trips across the Atlantic at a time when that was long, arduous and dangerous. Bless him, he was a great man and scarcely richer or more comfortable than his servants and the pioneers he brought to North America.
 
2013-01-11 11:20:42 AM
I would also be interested to see the correlation between "real GDP per capita (adjusted for purchasing power)" and anti-depressant consumption. I'm pretty sure we would get comparable correlations (with reversed results, of course, anti-depressants comsumption being very high in richer countries).

It's not a better measure, but would get the same kind of sensational result.
 
2013-01-11 11:23:21 AM
Money can't buy happiness but it can alleviate a lot of misery,
 
2013-01-11 11:46:08 AM

Ctrl-Alt-Del: wildcardjack: Money doesn't buy happiness if you spend 60 hours a week at work and die of a heart attack by 40.

That's a result of what psychologist Daniel Gilbert would call "unwise shopping" for happiness. One of my favorite quotes from him:


"We know the best predictor of human happiness is human relationships and the amount of time that people spend with family and friends.

We know that it's significantly more important than money and somewhat more important than health. That's what the data shows. The interesting thing is that people will sacrifice social relationships to get other things that won't make them as happy - money. That's what I mean when I say people should do "wise shopping" for happiness.

Another thing we know from studies is that people tend to take more pleasure in experiences than in things. So if you have "x" amount of dollars to spend on a vacation or a good meal or movies, it will get you more happiness than a durable good or an object."


But if you don't have any friends, a new TV is fine, right?

/people really, really suck
 
2013-01-11 11:50:12 AM

Xenomech: [A]fter basic needs are met, relative rather than absolute income levels influence well-being.
This is why we should have a socio-capitalist system. Everyone should be given enough money from the gov't to have their basic needs met (food, shelter, entertainment, transportation, communication), then, whoever wants something *better* has to work. This also explains why both communism and capitalism (both in the colloquial senses) don't work and ultimately fail spectacularly.

Unfortunately, the last US Senator to seriously propose such a solution was assassinated.

Universal Basic Income should be a human right.


That's about the stupidest idea ever.
 
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