Sunday, July 09, 2017

Money Isn't Everything

The WSJ columnist cites a seven-year-old study that merits revisiting. The question: Can Money Buy Happiness? [bold added]
In 2010 Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton analyzed data from over 450,000 responses to a daily survey of 1,000 U.S. residents by the Gallup Organization. They found that money does influence happiness at low to moderate levels of income. Real lack of money leads to more worry and sadness, higher levels of stress, less positive affect (happiness, enjoyment, and reports of smiling and laughter) and less favorable evaluations of one’s own life. Yet most of these effects only hold for people who earn $75,000 a year or less. Above about $75,000, higher income is not the simple ticket to happiness that we think it is.
This study is another confirmation of the hierarchy of needs that Abraham Maslow postulated over 60 years ago. A certain threshold of income---on average $75,000 p.a. in 2010---is necessary to provide for physiological and safety needs. Higher-order, "softer" goals (love, belonging, social- and self-esteem) are harder to achieve and often impossible to "buy".

It sounds corny, but these higher-order objectives usually cannot be attained by explicitly seeking them. For example, a man may try to impress a woman, the woman sees through him and may go along in the short term, but a bond that results in lasting happiness depends upon factors other than money. In other arenas, if making partner or earning tenure is openly transparent, the candidate, regardless of merit, often fails because of his visible ambition.
For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.--Matthew 16:25

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