20 Nov. 2018
Money does not equal happiness
The connection between happiness and wealth is surprisingly weak, which stem in part from the way people spend it. In the following paper, I am going to present several arguments which will support the idea that money has nothing to do with happiness. That is because people does not know how to spend them the right way. Most people do not know the basic scientific facts about happiness; therefore, they do not know how to use their money to acquire it.
They are letting themselves have too much enjoyment when they reach that point of material oversaturation they start killing the potential to make themselves any happier. Studies have shown that it is very easy to get spoiled in the modern consumer-based economy, especially, when you have a fortune: “Knowing we have access to wonderful things undermines our happiness by reducing our tendency to appreciate life’s small joys.” (Dunn and Norton). In order to avoid overconsuming people have to split their pleasures into a small pieces. That way, pleasures are less susceptible to diminishing marginal utility, which refers to the fact that each unit increase in the magnitude of a pleasure increases the hedonic impact of that pleasure by a smaller amount than did the previous unit increase (Kahneman 16)
Another, crucial reason why people with money are still unhappy is that they emphasize their expenses on material goods, rather than experiences. In one study, people were asked to think of a material and an experiential purchase they had made with the intention of increasing their own happiness. Participants were asked which of the two purchases made them happier, fully 57% of respondents reported that they had derived greater happiness from their experiential purchase, while only 34% reported greater happiness from their material purchase. (Carter and Gilovich 156). Experiential purchases are also more associated with identity, connection, and social behavior. Looking back on purchases made, experiences make people happier than do possessions. We stop appreciating things to which we’re constantly exposed. phones, clothes, couches, et cetera, they just become background. They deteriorate or become obsolete. It is the fleetingness of experiential purchases that endears us to them. Either they’re not around long enough to become imperfect, or they are imperfect, but our memories and stories of them get sweet with time. Even a bad experience becomes a good story. (Hamblin). There is one study in the support of this idea: In the study where each of the respondents were given a 100$ in order to rate how happy the purchase made them. Respondents would report that experiential purchases made them happier than material purchases. (Boven and Gilovich 1194)
Final argument in favor of the title sentence is that most of the people simply can not handle the extensive amount of money they are given. Research has shown that the love of money is often related with the start of trouble—relationship trouble, mostly. Americans who highly value money have poorer relationships than do those who take a more moderate approach to money (Vohs, Kathleen D., et al 208). People’s mental health is also harmed when they value both family relationships and the possession of material objects, because these two values conflict and cause mental stress (Burroughs and Rindfleisch).
People with more money report being more satisfied. However, when asked how happy they are at the moment, people with more money are barely diffrenet than those with less.
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Kahneman, Daniel. “Well-being:Foundations of hedonic psychology.” Russell Sage Foundation Press, pp. 3-25, doi:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199571178.003.0003.
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Van Boven, Leaf, and Thomas Gilovich. “To Do or to Have? That Is the Question.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol.85, no. 6, 2003, pp. 1193-1202, doi:10.1037/0022-3522.214.171.1243.
Vohs, Kathleen D., et al. “Merely Activating the Concept of Money Changes Personal and Interpersonal Behavior.” Current Directions in Psychological Science, vol. 17, no. 3, June 2008, pp. 208–212, doi:10.1111/j.1467-8721.2008.00576.x.