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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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    Feb 7 2013: Let's look at Maslow's Hirearchy of needs and satisfaction to determine the answer. First is physiological needs (food, water, clean air, etc.). So on the first level yes money can buy those things. Second stage is Safety needs (housing, clothes, etc.), and money can buy those as well. Third is love and belonging. I think in some cases money can buy this because being in a relationship is expensive and more people will be inclined to hang around you and include you if you can bring money and goods to the table(look at celebs and their friendship rings if you disagree). So, I'd say about 50/50 on this one. Fourth is Esteem. This is tricky because having money does increase self-esteem (this is a proven fact with research studies), but this also has to do with personality so I would say 75/25 money is included in this. Lastly is self-transcendence (go beyond one's ideal self, more of a spiritual thing and very difficult to achieve.) This one has nothing to do with money at all and all has to do with a person. I would say people feel happy when 3 of these things are full so when looking at this I think money can buy 4 of the 5 things in here. So in conclusion, yes money can buy happiness, but it cannot buy complete satisfaction with one's self.
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      Feb 7 2013: i think you are oversimplifying the maslow hierarchy. the 4th stage is not "esteem", but more than that: it is status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention as well as strength, competence, mastery, self-confidence, independence, and freedom, as wikipedia lists. many of those are heavily dependent on money. either directly, or through the time required to achieve these, time that could be spent on earning money.

      and the 5th stage may be expressed in paintings, pictures, or inventions, says wiki, but may i add discovery, creation of something worthwhile, something remarkable. this is directly money dependent in many ways. my previous example was james cameron, who spends huge sums on deep sea expeditions, for example recently visited the mariana trench.
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        Feb 8 2013: You are correct, I did just simplify it to make it more easily read, but that is the overview without the technical jargon, but you are right. When we look at this hirearchy money really can buy happiness and I think this is the best measurement of happiness we can find. I do not know how much you know about Maslow, but his research has impacted many fields in business leadership, psychology, and education just to name a few. This is the most accurate, scientific description of this emotion, and I think it proves money can make a person happier.
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          Feb 14 2013: Hi Eric
          Do you really think that money can buy happiness?..
          so, the richer you are, the happier you are.?...
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        Feb 14 2013: Yes I really do. my family has had times where we did not know where our next meal was coming from and the stress of that insecurity is unbelievable. Anyone who has been in that situation can understand and it is almost unbearable. Now, I am lucky enough to be a little more stable and that relaxed pressure is a completely different world. We can look at this hirearchy all we want, but real world is where it counts and money can relieve a lot of stress. Your worries are less, and instead of deciding how to pay for that box of ramen noodles you need, you can decide which video game to buy. I have a unique point of view because I have seen both sides of the situation and having money really raises your contentment and happiness.
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          Feb 15 2013: It doesn't sound, Eric, like you are saying that people with great material wealth are happier than those with less. It sounds like you are saying, rather, that having a certain amount of money so that you don't have to worry about food, shelter, and other vitals is necessary before you have the mental space to be happy.
    • Feb 9 2013: Eric, you stole my idea. About a year ago I wrote exactly what you said but in story-form and in russian;)

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