top of page

Will you be happier if you get richer?




Hello! I am a new intern from Business Team, Elena!


I am currently studying international development in my university. This major focuses on diverse issues such as poverty, globalisation, gender inequality, conflict and humanitarian interventions. Yes, it sounds a bit depressing, but it’s actually quite interesting! Today, I’d like to share one of the most interesting topics I studied in uni, ‘happiness’.


People say they want to be happy, even children sometimes say their dreams are to be happy. Everybody wants happiness, but how is it achieved? The first thing you may think of is money so that you can afford delicious food, a comfortable bed to sleep and your favourite clothes. Yes, that’s right. Imagine that you win a lottery or that your salary increases by the decision of your boss. Your happiness level will definitely dramatically increase. In that moment we can say money makes people happy. But what about your feeling after a week? Do you still feel the same? Probably not. People get used to it.


Let’s look at the graphs. These show how much income and happiness have increased 30-50 years after the end of WW2 in high income countries.





Surprisingly, happiness level and life satisfaction haven’t increased much along with the increase in GDP per capita. This paradox is called ‘the Easterlin Paradox.’ Easterlin insisted ‘... economic growth does not raise a society to some ultimate state of plenty. Rather, the growth process itself engenders ever-growing wants that lead it ever onward’ (Easterlin, 1974).


There are two reasons which explain this paradox.

1, Hedonic treadmill. After an increase in happiness in the short run, people ‘adjust’ to higher income levels, their expectations rise and they are just as happy as before. This is the reason why you won’t be able to feel the same as when you first won the lottery a week ago.

2, Relativist concerns. Wellbeing is strongly influenced by the comparison with the achievements of people around us. If our income increases but also everybody’s else does then our relative status remains the same. For example, even if your boss raises your salary, you wouldn’t feel any happiness when your colleagues also get promoted.


If you look at these two figures, you can easily tell that even the unemployment rate doesn’t correlate with happiness level.




What I want to believe here is that what makes people truly happy is the environment such as their hobbies, beliefs, family, friends and maybe the nature. It’s not always true that you will be happier when you get richer. I’ve seen many people who are obsessed with earning money by cutting their own throat in Japan. However in su-re.co, other giftmakers have their own core and still enjoy cooperating with each other and gifting to the earth. They all have their own meanings in their jobs. That is what I really like about su-re.co!


At last, maybe I can hear some definitions of happiness from other giftmakers!

What is ‘happiness’ for you?



166 views8 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Semi-structured Interview Questions

This list of questions was utilised to conduct our European Commission H2020 research project, TIPPING+, in understanding narrative-network dynamics in tipping processes towards low-carbon energy futu

8 Comments


amandaramadhani
amandaramadhani
Sep 08, 2021

I stared out the window for a whole 5 minutes trying to answer this question... I can only think sources of happiness, but not the exact definition. I guess,I can say that happiness for me are moments of blessing :)

Like

Oktavianna Winda
Oktavianna Winda
Aug 31, 2021

I'm not really feeling happy lately. I've been trying to find my new source of happiness but I guess I need more time to figure it out. I think I'm a bit lost now. I'm looking for a chance to mend myself, a chance to heal, a chance to take that leap of courage and feel the happiness again. I'll get back once I found my answer ;)

Like

pasthika
pasthika
Aug 31, 2021

my happiness moment is to hear a story from people around me about them and it can boost my mood when I had a chance to talk in person with someone and they can tell me a story about their life experiences

Like

sitiindriani
sitiindriani
Aug 26, 2021

Thank you for writing this Elena. This is so interesting! I think my happiness doesn't come from money. Small happiness will come from 'me time moment' I think, such as reading a book, cooking meals, baking breads, watching a fun video, learning a new thing, and trying a new activity. However, I think I will be happy if I can give something for others, as simple as a small gift, information, or just random chats and calls :)

Like

clarissarahmanita
clarissarahmanita
Aug 25, 2021

I think you just summarize why money could not 'really' buy happiness, but also is necessary. For me, happiness comes in a lot of shape, and while sometimes it comes in the shape of the hedonistic happiness that money can buy (hehe) recently I experience more happiness in other ways, for example the content feeling of achieving something of my purpose (and it does not require money!)

Like
bottom of page