Happiness and money…the debate continues

Happiness and money…the debate continues

Does money make you happy? So asks the BBC news…and so continues the ongoing debate on this complex issue.

Stephen Evans writes…

The unhappy answer to whether or not your happiness expands in line with your wealth is “yes, but – no, but”.

It seems it does if your riches rise relative to that of the Joneses, but not if you all rise together.

“What we actually care about is our income compared with other people,” says Lord Layard, one of the founders of “happiness studies”.

“But if over time everybody is becoming richer then people don’t on average feel any better than they did before.”

It is all relative

Lord Layard bases the conclusion on studies and surveys that have been conducted over the past half a century or so in the world’s richer countries – the conclusions do not apply to countries so poor that the basic necessities are absent.

What the studies reveal is a paradox, sometimes known as the Easterlin Paradox after the man who noticed it.

The apparent contradiction is that…

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