Richer countries are happier than poor countries. And richer families within richer countries are happier, too.
Well, duh. I thought this was a given. Only fools try to rationalize the theory that money doesn’t make you happier.
Americans have a peculiar conviction that the one thing money can’t give us is satisfaction. You can’t buy happiness, we’ve all been told."Mo Money Mo Problems", Biggie concurred. And while we can all agree that desperate poverty is hideous, there is a broadly held view that after a certain level of income (around $75,000, say), more money doesn’t buy more well-being.
That’s because people who say that don’t actually make over $75k a year. No idea what they’re talking about.
But it’s just not so. Economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers have been arguing for yearsthat, yes, richer families tend to be happier, and no, there is not an automatic cut-off point. In other words:Mo money, fewer problems.
Their elegant and straightforward new papercan be nicely summed up in the two graphs below. The first graph looks at income groups within countries. In all nations surveyed, richer households reported more life satisfaction. (Statistical note: This graph is logarithmic. That means doubling your income from $1,000 to $2,000 raises satisfaction by the same amount as doubling your income from $10,000 to $20,000. You can imagine why this might make a good theoretical case for income redistribution.)
You had me until here. Why argue for income redistribution instead of arguing for more productivity and higher earning power for all?
Modern day America is just a bunch of people who know there’s a problem, understand that we need to fix these problems and then they come up with the most ridiculous, ass-backwards way for trying to fix them.
Why or how does one’s brain logically go from “people need to make more money” as the problem and come up with “let’s take money away from some and give to others” as a solution instead of the obvious and simple solution of “let’s help everyone make more money”.
What is wrong with people? Are people this stupid or are people trying to be too smart and over thinking things?
I see this same line of thinking in everything we do these days and it’s aggravating to the point of being painful.