Money Can Buy Happiness?

The link provided below is one of the most wonderful things I have read in a long time. This man’s decision to lower his own income in order to provide many of his employees with a raise came from reading a study on how income affects happiness. It was found that individuals with higher incomes do not differ in their ability to have good emotional health (for example, earning $200,000 a year as opposed to $100,000 a year does not give one greater happiness), but individuals with lower incomes appear much less likely to achieve good emotional health. The break between bad and good emotional health was found to be a yearly income of $75,000 (in the United States). Here is a quotation from the original article:

“More money does not necessarily buy more happiness, but less money is associated with emotional pain. Perhaps $75,000 is a threshold beyond which further increases in income no longer improve individuals’ ability to do what matters most to their emotional well-being, such as spending time with people they like, avoiding pain and disease, and enjoying leisure.”

The findings of this study may appear obvious to you, but if they are so obvious, why aren’t more people doing what this man has done with his company? I know, I know, it is because humans are greedy and that’s the way it is. It’s the most basic argument against communism ever. But the fact that it has actually happened, that a man has actually lowered his nearly $1000,000 yearly income in the hopes of giving his many employees the simple opportunity to be happy, proves that it is possible for human beings to not be greedy. Perhaps greediness is not part of our nature, but just part of our mindset.

So I dare to ask, if you were in this man’s position, would you do what he has done? And if you wouldn’t, why not? When you know from this study that you could improve the lives of so many people and technically lose no emotional well-being yourself (after adapting to your new income, of course), what is your reasoning? It is uncomfortable, but that is only because we are all so accustomed to the vision of the American Dream. If this man’s thinking was the thinking of everyone, imagine how different our world could be.


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