TED Conversations

Mohammad Mohammadipour

This conversation is closed.

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..

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Feb 5 2013: Happiness is subjective. What makes me happy may be diffirent from what makes you happy. For some people, money can sure "buy" them happiness. They use money to acquire material things. These material things give many people the feeling of happiness. But personally, I still believe that 'the best things in life are free'.
    • thumb
      Feb 5 2013: i challenge you to name a single thing that is truly free
      • thumb
        Feb 5 2013: Hi sir. Love and friendship are things that are truly free. Aren't they?
        • thumb
          Feb 5 2013: You have a good point Kenn, but some people like to have their points exposed and have the last word. They might feel like your answer wasn't quite to their standards and simply argue that love and friendship aren't necessarily free since you must have to invest time or some other valuable asset in order to receive love or friendship. This is not my case, I like your answer.
        • thumb
          Feb 5 2013: not really. they require time, time that you could spend on other things. in a primitive society, you often can not afford love, and many do not get. they can't afford to wait for the right person, or leave the current one that proved itself a mistake. love is quite expensive to find and maintain.
        • thumb
          Feb 5 2013: I LOVE your perspective Kenn and Mykle:>)

          I bet Krisztián will catch onto this idea one of these days....LOL:>)
      • thumb
        Feb 5 2013: Dear Krisztián,
        Happiness is truly free....it is a choice:>)
        • Feb 5 2013: Dear Colleen,

          Agreed (more than just the word itself)

          as Tolstoy says: "If you want to be happy, be" - (as we see here, he didn't mention "...., have"
        • thumb
          Feb 6 2013: it only goes against common sense and scientific results
        • thumb
          Feb 6 2013: Colleen, sorry about your fall.As an active person, you are likely to have a speedy recovery, I know.

          You raise a point with which I fully agree but which can be elusive. A sense of well-being/contentment/satisfaction runs deeper than the specific events of the moment. In fact those attributes are excellent support for determinedly working to improve things that need fixing or to weather challenges and set-backs.
      • thumb
        Feb 6 2013: If we are going to assume that "happiness" is defined as a conscious state of well-being and contentment, you cannot say complete happiness is free. All men require fundamental factors to survive -food, water, shelter... Lack of these things do not lead to contentment nor over-all well being. Money and wealth, though, provide access to these things, with some sort of price. According to the study associated with this post, "within individual countries richer people are happier than poorer", and concluding this, as no coincidence. To believe that happiness comes at absolutely no price, is to truly deny the existence of man's basic needs.

        I believe that happiness is an individual state of being. Not existent by factors such as love or friendship, (though IS influenced by these things). Happiness exists solely within you. Agreeably, "If you want to be happy, be". In my perspective, this means living in each moment. Taking each moment as it is. Nothing more, and nothing less.
        • thumb
          Feb 6 2013: i agree with the first part.

          in the second part, this statement "Happiness exists solely within you" is i believe similar to "what you see, exists solely within you". the sense of vision happens in the brain, so this is a true statement. but it is also true that vision is heavily influenced by external stimuli, and that is the reason of it. so it is not a contradiction. happiness is a mental function tat is dependent on many inside and many outside factors.
        • thumb
          Feb 6 2013: I agree Lorenz....good comment:>)

          I also agree with you Krisztián, that "the sense of vision happens in the brain.... also true that vision is heavily influenced by external stimuli, and that is the reason of it. so it is not a contradiction. happiness is a mental function tat is dependent on many inside and many outside factors".

          You insightfully recognize, Krisztián, that vision happens in the brain...influenced by external stimuli...happiness is a mental function...dependent on many inside and outside factors".

          I suggest that we can use the external/internal influences any way we choose. For example, the reason I stopped commenting on TED yesterday, is because I fell down the stairs in my home.....slipped on the top step and went all the way down to the bottom of 16 steps on my back.

          Although I experienced some physical pain, discomfort and bruising, my sense of contentment was not affected. Three friends stopped in the afternoon, brought me lunch, visited, and offered to do some "chores" for me because I was less able to move comfortabley. The circumstances changed my activity for the day, and my underlying feeling of contentment was not affected. I was VERY GRATEFUL that the accident was not worse....I have some discomfort, but can sill move, so nothing is broken. I am grateful for the help of my friends. I focused on healing (heat, ice, ibuprophen, stretching, etc.), and also focused on the love and willingness to help which my friends offered.

          So, we do not need to allow external circumstances to cause unhappiness or discontent. We CAN experience a foundation of contentment by using the "mental function", as you insightfully recognize in a different way....make any sense?
      • thumb
        Feb 6 2013: Krisztián,
        This is a reply to your statement..." it only goes against common sense and scientific results"

        Which is a reply to my statement.....sorry I couldn't get the reply closer:>)
        "Dear Krisztián,
        Happiness is truly free....it is a choice:>) "

        I respect YOUR beliefs as YOUR beliefs Krisztián, however, to say that my beliefs go against commen sense and scientific results" is not true because LOTS of us recognize the scientific research that is being done on this topic, and there is LOTS of scientific research which supports the idea I offer and experience in each and every moment of my life experience. To me, and a LOT of people, it makes logical, reasonable, common sense, and it's perfectly ok if you choose to not embrace the concept:>)
    • thumb
      Feb 6 2013: Fritzie, A reply to your comment in sequence was not possible.....I copy it here...hope you find it!

      "Fritzie Reisner
      Less than 5 minutes ago: Colleen, sorry about your fall.As an active person, you are likely to have a speedy recovery, I know.
      You raise a point with which I fully agree but which can be elusive. A sense of well-being/contentment/satisfaction runs deeper than the specific events of the moment. In fact those attributes are excellent support for determinedly working to improve things that need fixing or to weather challenges and set-backs."

      Thank you for your kind encouragement Fritzie....I agree that being active helps recovery....being active also causes the body to be more flexible, which I'm grateful for!!!

      I wholeheartedly agree that "A sense of well-being/contentment/satisfaction runs deeper than the specific events of the moment... those attributes are excellent support for determinedly working to improve things that need fixing or to weather challenges and set-backs."

      That is where I perceive the difference between the use of the words "happiness" and "contentment". Happiness, to me, based on the definition, suggests a more fleeting ( specific events of the moment, as you say) feeling. Whereas, contentment feels deeper to me.......and......I agree......offers the support for working/playing to improve and/or weather challenges. Thanks for putting it in those words Fritzie:>) While the feeling is not elusive to me, the way to explain the feeling sometimes is elusive to me, so thanks for clarifying:>)

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.