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Mohammad Mohammadipour

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Can Money Buy Happiness?

Maybe more cash does make people happier. Especially salient are analyses done by University of Pennsylvania economists Daniel Sacks, Betsey Stevenson, and Justin Wolfers. In their updated 2010 study, “Subjective Well-Being, Income, Economic Development and Growth,” the three compare subjective well-being survey data from 140 countries with those countries' income and economic growth rates. The researchers find that within individual countries richer people are happier than poorer; people in richer countries are happier than people in poorer countries; and over time increased economic growth leads to increased happiness. “These results together suggest that measured subjective well-being grows hand in hand with material living standards,” they conclude..

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    Jan 27 2013: I tend to agree with the notion that money does not "buy" happiness directly. It merely allows us to take care of the basics. It can be rather difficult to be happy and worry about where your next meal will come from. Once the basics are taken care of, such as food, shelter, heat, etc, Then happiness tends to be up to the individual. I Believe in one TED talk the researchers determined in the U.S., an income of about $60,000 was a minimum base point. From there the odds of you being happy were the same as if you made $100 million. So while it may not be the ability to purchase a particular material good, it may be the ability to fulfill a basic human need.
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      Jan 27 2013: what do you think, james cameron is a happier man because he can explore ocean deeps? it is kinda costly you know.
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        Jan 27 2013: hmm. I see that as a question for James. And then perhaps ask "Happier than who?"

        I tend to believe that people are not happier with more choices such as the one submitted (exploring the ocean) Some Ted talks mention research into the options of "Choice" and that too much choice can lead to unhappiness. It makes a bit of sense that with all the choices we might mentally think that one choice is perfect and will make us happy. When we condense those choices we tend to be happier. I find that research interesting.

        These examples I believe also lead to the "grass is always greener" thinking. Also, known as a cognitive trap. We think when we get this item, or travel to that place, or perform that feat, then we will be happy. This is the trap and leads to circular thinking which is more self destructive when happiness is not achieved.

        I love the saying "The secret to happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you have" I find this statement to be true, BUT also fortune cookie wisdom. No depth. How do we as individuals train our minds to be happy with what we have?

        Back to the original questions. Perhaps money is needed so that we may reach that point in life that opens up the other choices and confronts us with new opportunities. At which point happiness becomes something else. hmm. Maybe we need a hierarchy of happiness. Level one is basic needs. Level two is social comfort (or something) up to level "?" altruism.
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          Jan 27 2013: happier than himself without the zillions of dollars he made.

          i think the answer is simpler: if you buy drinks and luxury, money won't help. but there are things only money can buy and do make your life better. it is all about the use.

          how about that?
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          Jan 28 2013: Hi Leo
          "I tend to believe that people are not happier with more choices such as the one submitted (exploring the ocean) Some Ted talks mention research into the options of "Choice" and that too much choice can lead to unhappiness. It makes a bit of sense that with all the choices we might mentally think that one choice is perfect and will make us happy.".
          I personally think that "more choices" means "more freedom"…
          "When we condense those choices we tend to be happier"
          Q1: So, is it possible to have a prescription for a happier life?

          "I love the saying "The secret to happiness is not getting what you want, but wanting what you have" I find this statement to be true, BUT also fortune cookie wisdom. No depth. How do we as individuals train our minds to be happy with what we have?"
          Q2: Regarding your perspective is happiness wanting what you already have? Or wanting something that you are getting now (process), or is it something that you will have (in its sensible form)?..

          "Back to the original questions. Perhaps money is needed so that we may reach that point in life that opens up the other choices and confronts us with new opportunities. At which point happiness becomes something else. hmm. Maybe we need a hierarchy of happiness. Level one is basic needs. Level two is social comfort (or something) up to level "?" altruism"
          Q3: could you shed light on your idea?.
          Regards
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      Jan 28 2013: Hi Leo
      "I tend to agree with the notion that money does not "buy" happiness directly. It merely allows us to take care of the basics. It can be rather difficult to be happy and worry about where your next meal will come from. Once the basics are taken care of, such as food, shelter, heat, etc,"
      ..Imagine a life that most of the people (sample group) are living upon the poverty line in different territories…
      "Then happiness tends to be up to the individual"..
      Q1. Could you shed light on your idea?
      .Regards.
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        Jan 28 2013: hmm. This can get really in depth and head into a lot of tangents. I tend to be a neuro-philosopher so my ideas stem from evolution, biology etc.

        A starving human will be in a different mind set than someone that has food. Same thing with someone that cannot breathe. We will fight, claw, scratch, steal etc. from an animal state our amygdala will kick in survival instincts and get us to aggressively survive.

        A level up from that will be probably the poverty level. The stress of knowing where your next meal will come from, or whether you will be able to pay for living puts another level of pressure. At this state the brain has risen out of the animalistic survival state and a person may not steal or hurt someone, but the mental state may not be said to be "happiness"

        Another level (perhaps these are not levels 1,2,3 but more like 1, 3, 7 or such) would be having all of the basics taken care of. Food, shelter, etc. In the Western world (or perhaps it would be capitalistic parts of the world) this takes money. (other parts it may take power, or influence) This gets you to a higher level of happiness, but no further.

        Then money may play a role, but it would have its limitations. Much like taking a starving human and solving the daily challenge of food. You have elevated their mental state, but only so far as feeding that individual food will allow. They may still want for sex, or shelter, etc.

        The questions "does money make us happy?" I believe most people see that it is not money, it is solving needs and gratifying desires. In the Western world it is money, but perhaps in another country it may be pearls, or livestock. Same concept, but whatever the item is, it is used to trade for desires and needs.

        Money helps, but only to a point. Then our minds search for something else. I think we are in a quest to learn what that may be but stick with money for the moment

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