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The Case against Money and Happiness - Essay Example

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The Easterlin Paradox was first published by Richard Easterlin way back in 1974. The paradox was mainly used to support the argument that a general increase in economical growth by a country, would not necessarily result in increased satisfaction levels by its citizenry (Leonhardt 2008). The argument supported by this paradox, was further supported by research that happened to prove that during the resultant aftermath that followed soon after World War II ended, the economy of Japan underwent a rather significant boom with the general economy’s output growing by an average of about sevenfold between the years ranging between 1950 an 1970. This staggering economical growth caused Japan to eventually become one of the world’s richest nations (Leonhardt 2008). Despite the massive economic growth witnessed in the country, polls conducted in Japan showed that the country’s citizenry appeared to become increasingly dissatisfied with their own lives. According to the results of one poll, the overall percentage of persons who happened to provide the most positive of the given possible answers pertaining to the level of satisfaction they were experiencing in their lives actually fell from the averages obtained during the late 1950s through to the early 1970s. It was evidently clear that although the people were richer, they were deemed to apparently not be happier. (Lee & Dwight 2006). The results of this Japanese anomaly are inherently somewhat flawed and money can result in happiness. The truth of this statement was verified by efforts of research conducted by two economists from Brookings Institution in Washington, Mr. Wolfers and Ms. Stevenson who discovered that the original research questions had changed and the most positive answer option that was given by the pollsters was one suggesting that although the respondents weren’t completely happy they were satisfied with their life as it were at the moment. Mr. Easterlin is quoted as writing that “it can generally be observed that persons residing in poor countries displayed a tendency towards becoming generally happier once their economic conditions became more favorable and they were subsequently able to afford their basic necessities. Any further gains on their part did not necessarily increase their income but simply just seemed to actually be resetting the bar”. Easterlin argued that one’s relative income which is basically a reflection of how much an individual happens to earn in comparison to how much other persons around the individual happened to be earning – mattered far way more than a person’s absolute income (Leonhardt 2008). The Easterlin Paradox was quickly adopted by the society and grew to become one of the major social sciences classics that were frequently cited in various academic journals as well as in the popular media (Leonhardt 2008). The Case in Support of Money Causing an Increase in Happiness It can be argued that an increase in a person’s purchasing power can have the effect of causing a resultant increase in the happiness levels of the person. One of the most common arguments in support of this is that such happiness is generally a resultant feeling of one having more as compared to other persons in the same reference group. ...Show more
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This paper “The Case against Money and Happiness” seeks to show that money can result in happiness. The debate as to whether money can result in happiness is nearly as old as the entire notion of money itself. Several theories and concepts have been developed…
The Case against Money and Happiness
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