Monday, August 15, 2005

They say that money can't buy happiness.... 

... but it can sure take the sting out of being unhappy.

Maybe one way to open up a discussion of—gasp—class in American is to quote the following:

Money can buy happiness, according to new academic research in the United States.

But the old saw that financial gain doesn't a happy life make seems partly true, as wellbeing appears in proportion to a person's relative wealth compared to their peers.

The study, by academics from Pennsylvania State and Harvard University, finds that richer people tend to be happier than poorer people.

But the data revealed that the green-eyed monster jealousy influences how people gauge how happy they are.

"The higher the income of others in one's age group, the lower one's happiness," said Glenn Firebaugh a sociological researcher at Pennsylvania State University, one of the report's co-authors.

The reseach contains a worrying message for society, as the close observance of others' income, a "keeping up with the Joneses" trend, forces people to continually increase their income, the report said.

"Rather than promoting overall happiness, continued income growth could promote an ongoing consumption race where individuals consume more and more just to maintain a constant level of happiness," said Firebaugh.

The research, contained in the report "Relative Income and Happiness : Are Americans on a Hedonic Treadmill?" is being presented at the American Sociological Association Centennial Annual Meeting this week in Philadelphia.

Firebaugh and Harvard researcher Laura Tach based their findings on 20 to 64 year olds, adding controls for race, marital status, educational level, ageing and health.
(via AP)

A "hedonic treadmill" driven by envy. Well, I guess that would explain the McMansions and the SUVs, wouldn't it? I guess the oil for all that would be the "noble cause"...

On the one hand, the envy reminds me of the old Russian joke about the genie that appeared to the Russian peasant and granted him exactly one wish; whereupon the peasant wished that his neighbor's cow would die....

However, it also seems true to me that class distinctions have become vastly greater since the VRWC started running the country. For most people, incomes have been flat since the '70s. But for the very rich, incomes have multiplied. (It's another power curve.)

Meaning that, to the 1000 or so oligarchs who are running the country, we are all cockroaches. It should be possible to work through issues that are the reverse of wedge issues. Pursuit of happiness issues, centering on universal experiences... Food, music... Money... Sex... Love... All of which, in similar ways, are being corrupted and diminished by our corporate overlords.

Democrats are about the pursuit of happiness. I rather like that. In additioan to life and liberty, of course.

corrente SBL - New Location
~ Since April 2010 ~

~ Since 2003 ~

The Washington Chestnut
~ current ~

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]


copyright 2003-2010

    This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?