The real truth about money
Sunday, Jan. 09, 2005
By Gregg Easterbrook
The article presents statistics which compare the income by Americans since world war II and the overall "level of happiness" over the same period of time. Graphing this, the first line would soar upward enormously. The overall income has almost been tripled.The possession of two cars per family used to be a goal now two, three or more cars are standard. Compared to that, the second line that represents the peoples happiness would run straight even though Americans consider themselves as "very happy".
Our grandparents lived through the depression maybe the even the last period of world war II so what they taught us about the fact that "money can't buy happiness" might have a true meaning. People spend much time on spending money for material goods such as clothes, immovables or cars. Therefore the ways, happiness should be achieved by, get ignored. Building up social contacts, maintaining relationships or providing help for others - these things are the real key to a happy life but are considered less worth than money by many people. So is it true that money can or cannot buy happiness?
People tend always to strive for more and more. The question is not:"do I live like the best I can be?" it is more important to know "am I better than somebody else?" The brain connects a thought about what someone has that I don't have with the idea to get whatever I need to be better. This natural habit is comparable to jealousy which every person does benefit from. At least being jealous forces us to move forward and to work for the things we want. The problem is just that these things are often related to money and and even their possession is no final satisfaction.
To state the obvious: Money is necessary, that's for sure. Money provides an exchange of goods and services, the basic as well as luxury ones. But does it buy happiness? The main problem is that money causes more problems than it solves. People get dependent, sort of addicted to it but the final answer is: things that provide happiness can't be bought in a store. Love, friendship, family, respect, a place in the community, the belief that your life has purpose can totally be achieved without materialism and as soon as many people understand this, the more happiness we will experience.