I Don’t Care Too Much for Money

There are lots of ways to correlate money and mental health/spiritual well-being/happiness whatever you want to call it, that thing you seek. Some show the correlation to be quite small or even undetectable as income goes up. There seems to be a rule of thumb in America that it’s about $70K these days, beyond which money buys no additional comfort or security, and is mostly used as a token of influence.

Which is to say it is likely that at $70K you can already afford a couple of days on a yacht, and that Bill Gates probably doesn’t spend more than two days a year on his yacht, and that the rest of the time, like you and me, he is frantically working on something…

Is this perception true?

One really good way to measure things is to average over very large numbers.

Globally, everyone agrees that the economy has grown enormously in my lifetime, and it is my impression that happiness, in North America at least, has not.

On the other hand let me emphasize on behalf of my family and everyone living the in the old Warsaw Pact Eastern Europe, that for all their absurdities and indignities of their own, these times are surely much happier times than the 1950s were. Clearly, how we organize ourselves as humans makes a great deal of difference to our well-being!

A new study comes out on the side that all of our growth is illusory in the aggregate, at least in the largest countries. From The Australian National University (ANU) led by Dr Kubiszewski it is ‘Beyond GDP: Measuring and achieving global genuine progress’ in Ecological Economics.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.04.019

(Remarkably this is a free download from Elsevier. Alas the graph legends are near-illegible in the PDF which seems quite unnecessary, as does Elsevier.)

Comments:

  1. Well it's as good a time as any to announce that this is my institution - I have finally quit the day job and am no longer affiliated with the University of Texas or any research institution. I wonder sometimes if my scientific productivity won't go up as a result. But regardless, Planet3.0 has no journal licenses, and I did nevertheless see the thing.

  2. Money can't buy me love, but it sure can buy me power, influence ...and more money

    Money for Nothin'

    -- Horatio Algeranon's parody of the Dire Straits song

    Now look at them politicos that's the way you do it
    You play the public on the empTV
    That ain't workin' that's the way you do it
    Money for nothin', and trips for free
    Now that ain't workin' that's the way you do it
    Lemme tell ya them guys ain't dumb
    Maybe get a blister on your mousing finger
    Maybe get a blister on your bum

    We gotta install CEO covins
    Custom contract deliveries
    We gotta move these pipelines and graders
    We gotta move these houses and trees

    The UN envoy with the earring and the makeup
    Yeah buddy that's her au pair
    The UN envoy got her own jet airplane
    The UN envoy she's a millionaire

    We gotta install CEO covins
    Custom contract deliveries
    We gotta move these pipelines and graders
    We gotta move these houses and trees

    I shoulda learned to play the public
    I shoulda learned to play them ducks
    Look at that drama, he sounds so slick up on the camera
    Man will he make some bucks
    And he's up there, what's that? Hill lyin' noises?
    Bangin' on enviros for a Keystone fee
    That ain't workin' that's the way you do it
    Get your money for nothin', get your perks for free

    We gotta install CEO covins
    Custom contract deliveries
    We gotta move these pipelines and graders
    We gotta move these houses and trees

    Now that ain't workin' that's the way you do it
    You play the public on the empTV
    That ain't workin' that's the way you do it
    Money for nothin' and trips for free
    Money for nothin' and perks for free


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