Does money buy happiness

by aurelie on December 15, 2017 - 11:57am


Does money buy happiness?



            In a capitalist society, people are encouraged to buy more and more products because they are in a society where conspicuous consumption, which is the action of buying expensive items to display wealth and income rather than to cover real needs, is put forward. It means that even if someone does not need a certain product they will buy it anyway if it allows to make a statement about their social class. It is actually a kind of competition of who is the wealthiest. Moreover, this can also be referred to as materialism because people are according more importance to goods than human beings. People cannot ignore that indeed money plays a major role into a person’s life because their condition will mostly depend on it, but is it enough to buy happiness?

            Studies have been done to look at if there was a correlation between income and happiness; a survey has shown that money can indeed make people happier, but only to a certain point. They proved that self-reported levels of well-being increased with income up to $75,000 a year (The Guardian, January 7, 2016), but after that, increasing amounts of money had no further effect on happiness. In fact, money gives people the ability to have new opportunities and take care of themselves, but only money and nothing else cannot make someone fully happy. For example, the wealthiest person on Earth can have everything, but still be sad due to whatever reason such as not having a family or friends. In fact, this person could have friends, but are they friends with this person because of their wealth or their personality? It is actually what happens sometimes; money can buy friendships, which is a form of happiness, but it does not mean that these friendships are authentic. According to statistics from the United States even if the GDP per capita has increased over the years (“United States GDP per capita 1960-2016,” 2015), it is still reported that happiness has decreased over the same period of time in this country (Helliwell, John F. Layard, Richard, 1934-Sachs, Jeffrey, 2016, p. 61); thus, experts state that happiness cannot just relate on money because it is only one of the many circumstances that can allow someone achieve happiness. Indeed, social life, health, marriage and religion are other circumstances that lead to someone’s happiness. Moreover, circumstances are also only a part that leads to happiness because voluntary control and set range are parts of the equation of happiness as well. Furthermore, money is one of the greatest sources of anxiety (the Guardian, January 7, 2016), and this is mainly caused by affluenza which is a painful, contagious, socially transmitted condition of overload, debt anxiety, and waste resulting from the continual pursuit of more. It suggests that once a person gets what they wanted they then want more, so they will never be satisfied of what they possess because they will always try to pursue for more. People can reframe their present in order to be satisfied with what they have.

            In sum, money can in fact contribute to happiness, but there are other aspects that need to be in the equation to lead someone being fully happy; therefore, money cannot buy happiness.




Hamburgh, R. (2016, January 7). Can money buy happiness? The Guardian. Retrieved on December 4, 2017 from :

Helliwell, John F. Layard, Richard, 1934-Sachs, Jeffrey. (2016). World happiness report. New York, N.Y. : Earth Institute, Colombia University.

United States GDP per capita 1960-2016. (2015). Retrieved from:


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