Have you read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams? It has been on my list of “Recommended books to read,” but for reason or another, I haven’t been able to progress past the first page. Purely out of time constraints, if you are thinking otherwise! However, I am not about to go into the literary merits of this book. I merely wish to draw your attention to a small paragraph from the first page of the book:
“This planet has – or rather had – a problem, which was this: most of the people living on it were unhappy for pretty much of the time. Many solutions were suggested for this problem, but most of these were largely concerned with the movements of small green pieces of paper, which is odd because on the whole it wasn’t the small green pieces of paper that were unhappy.”
Since this article talks of money and happiness, I thought it might be apt to begin it with this quote from the book. The debate whether money can or cannot buy you happiness is age old; probably older than age itself. And equally pertinent is the discussion whether this mad fervor to make money isn’t the root cause of all evil and misery.
People who do not have enough money cannot talk about it with the reckless abandonment that those gifted with money have. On the contrary, our approach is entirely diplomatic and cautious. We hear both sides of the argument and reach the conclusion that since we have no money of our own, it would be difficult to comment on this matter; but, should we brought up to the same financial status as some of our much envied companions, we might be in a better position to argue the pros and cons. Anybody willing to sponsor us?
Well, it seems that Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School holds the key to this highly philosophical question – “Can money buy happiness?” Apparently, it can! And these chaps have data to back their claim. So, according to them, if you earn $75,000 a year, you are a happy, happy man. And for those whose salary is below the benchmark, their fate is sealed with unhappiness. However, if you earn in the excess of $75,000 a year, there is no substantial increase in your degree of happiness.
Hmmm…..interesting as the results might be, I have two questions of my own. One, how on earth did they measure the degree of happiness? That in itself can form the basis of another study, “Can happiness be measured?” I guess, someone somewhere is already conducting this kind of a research. Secondly, why stop at $75,000 a year? Economist Angus Deaton did try to explain it by saying, “”it does seem to me a plausible number at which people would think money is not an issue,” but I am still not convinced. Why pick that particular figure?
Here, read the entire article for yourself and see if you can clear the haze for me a bit. I counting on you: http://bit.vc/9B.