The idea that money brings happiness remains a very popular one, even though the evidence that this is a gross oversimplification of a very complex relationship has been around for a long time. Financial security can, of course, be a key factor in terms of well-being, as poverty and the anxieties it brings can have a very detrimental effect. Money can also buy power in some ways, and power can be important for well-being (just as powerlessness can be a considerable impediment to quality of life). But the idea that money can’t buy happiness is well established in classic and popular literature, cinema and drama. In fact, there is a strong argument that a focus on material wealth (whether successful in achieving it or not) can be highly detrimental, in so far as it distracts us from the wider and deeper pleasures of life. Perhaps we will only start to promote well-being in earnest when we move away from a simplistic focus on materialism.
April 10, 2012