Does Money Buy Happiness?
by Mathpou on December 8, 2017 - 12:30pm
There is a typical saying that states “Money doesn’t make you happy.”, but is it true? In my class of sustainable happiness, the subject was approached. The final conclusion was that it did matter but only up to a certain point. I personally agree with the final answer. This conclusion was made using different studies but I will try to answer this question from my own critical point of view. My arguments are based on a world where humans need to have a good physical health to be happy. Someone who does not respect the minimal norms of what a living human needs to survive will not be considered as someone who can live a sustainable form of happiness.
First, it is clear that humans need to have all the necessary materials to survive. These are oxygen, food, clothes, and shelter. Of course, oxygen does not require money as the air has no owner, but for the three other elements, money is useful, or even essential.
Some people grow their own food with their own resources and do not require money. These people can be considered lucky because they have “free” food but they earn a hundred times over. These people need to work hard every day and they are obligated to sell a great portion of their harvests to make money to pay other types of bills; like for shelter. It does not stop here, the people growing their own food need to buy food at the market because they cannot grow everything. They cannot have all the nutrients they need to be healthy. Some people in poor countries eat only what they can produce but their physical health is bad and it does not lead to a sustainable family. I think that it is now clear that money is necessary for food, up to a point where it is only to be healthy. Sadly, the cheapest food is less healthy than food which is at a highest price.
Shelters have the same principles. There is a small portion of the population that build their own house but these constructions are fragile and are far from being sustainable. A single person cannot assemble the knowledge, the materials, the tools and the time to build a good and sustainable shelter. A whole team is normally required, and to have an autonomous house, a large amount of money is needed for the technology like solar panels and water filters. Money is necessary for the land, the materials and, as I said, the technology. There is no imperative need for technology to have the basic shelter but it is necessary for it to be sustainable. This sums up why I think that, again, money is needed to be happy.
The last aspect, the clothes can be obtained by someone alone. It is probably the only thing that can be efficiently obtained without the help of other people. But, the resources can rarely be gathered by only one person. The resources are often bought or traded. Money is not necessary in this case, but it definitely helps.
In conclusion, money is needed for humans to reach a certain stage of living but after this, too much money is linked with affluenza which reduces the happiness of the person. Affluenza is defined by a need of getting physical objects to be happy. The people that have this problem will always want more and more because the pleasure they get from these objects is felt only when they have them, not necessarily when they use them. Appart from this problem, the majority of people can develop happiness with a little luxury. Some buyings can facilitate the life of someone and this can have benefits but only if it is not exaggerated. At some point, the number of objects or services a person acquires can overcome the useful aspect that was first researched for.
The answer given in my class of sustainable happiness is a person needs to earn at least the average salary of the country if this salary let the person have a good shelter, good amount of food and some more. In the United States of America, there was no gain of happiness beyond a salary of $75,000. This data was found by the PNAS in 2009. Beyond that, the well-being of the person does not rise. The rise of the incoming is proportional to the happiness of the person until the last point is reached. After this, the level of happiness stays the same whatever the salary and it even starts to decrease if the salary is too high.
1. WELHAM Thomas, Self, published in 2017, Quebec City, Canada
2. Investopedia, Affluenza, consulted December 4 2017, URL : https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/affluenza.asp
3. Wikipedia, Basic needs, consulted the December 4 2017, URL : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_needs
4. Thegardian, fast food, ELLEN Barbara, consulted December 8 2017, URL : https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/30/call-fast-food-by-its-real-name-cheap-food
5. PNAS, High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being, Kahneman Daniel and Deaton Angus, URL : http://www.pnas.org/content/107/38/16489.full