We shouldn’t be surprised – the link between happiness and wealth is clear.
Money can’t buy happiness: it’s a rarely questioned truism.
It also tends to be most enthusiastically embraced by those who have never gone without it.
‘I’ve tried hard to care about money’ Chelsea Clinton once humble-bragged ‘but I couldn’t’.
No matter how attached we are to the idea that money can’t buy happiness though – the research shows almost the complete opposite.
After community and social relationships the association between income and wellbeing is one of the most robust in the happiness literature.
And a new study demonstrates just how deep-seated that psychological link is – how intricately our financial circumstances weave their way into our psyches.
Money doesn’t just shield us from obvious daily stresses – this study tells us – but can actually buy us the most basic of our psychological needs – human connection.
The higher our income – the less likely we are to experience loneliness.
This study builds on a wide body of research giving a similar message.
Although money is clearly no guarantee of contentment and there are anomalies in the data – as a general rule the better off we are financially the happier we are.
But yet we still restate our fridge-magnet mantra about the irrelevance of money to happiness over and over again – a cosy boast of our lack of materialism.
And in recent years with the advent of the highly influential ‘positive psychology’ movement – this idea has been given a new academic respectability.
(ed:..that ‘money can’t buy happiness’ truism so blithely trotted out can be viewed as propping up the neoliberal idea/belief of:..’screw the people..!..the market rules.!’..
..and supports the followers and believers of neoliberalism in both the tories and the new zealand labour party..
..those who have engineered/created the mess we now find ourselves mired in..
(if asked ‘how did we get to this?’..all you have to do is mutely point at pictures of the new zealaand prime ministers of the last three decades..and yes..i include helen clark in that indictment..
…clark not only didn’t undo the depredations shipley/richardson/douglas etc had wrought on the poorest/sickest in new zealand..she tightened the screws/stomped on their necks even more..for nine long bloody years..
..there was not only her maligning/stigmatising of the poorest campaigns…(who can forget clarks’ ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ families dictums..used to both justify doing nothing for those most in need and to usher in her welfare for the middle-class..
..a highlight/nadir of that particular campaign being clark publicly empathising with couples/families ‘struggling’ on $75,000 a yr..(!)..
..those truly struggling in true poverty could only look on in a state of shock and feckin’ awe..at these pronouncements from clark..)
..not only did clark do this..she also cut the incomes of the poorest..she ended previous add-on options for special circumstances…and hit another nadir with her neoliberal-drenched reason for this..this was so all beneficiaries would have ‘a level playing field’..she cut those options for those with special circumstances justifying further support on the grounds of ‘fairness’…
..now..how does the uncaring-cynicism inherent in that not make you dry-retch..?
..and then clark went off to work for the u.n – to work for the global-poor…(!)..where she has received beaurocratic-acclaim for her successes in ‘cutting programs’…(does any of that sound familiar..?..)
..but i digress..
..of course money does ‘buy happiness’..if you define ‘happiness’ as a relief from the miseries/stresses/family break-ups/crime etc. of/from poverty..(i.e…life in nz in 2016..for so many..)
..and is one of the strongest arguments for stopping the corporates/elites/richest/kleptocrats from robbing the rest of us blind with their clever lawyer/accounting tricks-
– and re-directing those monies to where they belong..
..ending those miseries/that unhappiness that poverty/inequality comes bundled with..
..and re-engineering the system to provide a (liveable on) univeral basic income for all citizens (who need it)..
..anything less than that is not good enough..)