Apr 7, 2008 - Society    No Comments

If you can’t do it, your money can

Apparently, there is more to money than just buying you loads of things, it can buy you happiness. Three separate studies shed new light on the importance of economic circumstances, and undermine earlier findings that poor people are just as happy as the rich.

Aresearch conducted by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, at MelbourneUniversity, shows that when wealth – not just income – is measured, the rich are indeed happier than the poor.

People generally say that money is not that important, relative to other things. However, when people’s assets were taken into account – the value of their houses, cars, art works, even stamp collection – a different picture emerged. Assets were far more important than income in determining happiness. And when you combine income and assets, money seems to matter more than people thought before. The study was based on a survey of a whopping 8000 people aged 25-59.

At the same time, research by Professor Siobhan Austen, of CurtinUniversity, showed poor women might say they were “happy” but they were not necessarily doing well. When asked the standard questions about life satisfaction, 76 women – divided between a rich and poor Perth suburb – appeared to be equally content with life. But in focus groups with the women, it was clear the experiences of the two groups were very different.

Likewise, two US economists suggests that inhabitants of richer countries are happier than those of poorer ones. A paper by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, economists at the Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that the higher your GDP, the wider your smile.

After reading this, we as a nation, should not even attempt at happiness, especially when 37% population lives below the poverty line (less than a dollar a day) the smiles will remain non existent. Even before reading about scientific research, I have firm belief that money is the cure of most ills, at worst, it cannot make you happy, but it sure can make the misery a lot more pleasant.

Amir Zaki wrote a song ages ago but it has never lost currency to me.

It goes;

Money is fine, money is cool,

Money breaks the hardest rule.

Rockerfeller, and Princess Ann

If you can’d do it, your money can.

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