Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Does Or Can Money Buy Happiness?

You might think I am kidding. But some research says yes and some no. The article is Maybe Money Does Buy Happiness After All from the NY Times. Post World War II opinion polls seemed to show that Japanese people were not getting any happier even though their economy grew. Here is an exerpt from the article:

"This contrast became the most famous example of a theory known as the Easterlin paradox. In 1974, Richard Easterlin, then an economist at the University of Pennsylvania, published a study in which he argued that economic growth didn’t necessarily lead to more satisfaction.

People in poor countries, not surprisingly, did become happier once they could afford basic necessities. But beyond that, further gains simply seemed to reset the bar. To put it in today’s terms, owning an iPod doesn’t make you happier, because you then want an iPod Touch. Relative income — how much you make compared with others around you — mattered far more than absolute income, Mr. Easterlin wrote."

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