Happiness Is a Warm Wallet


Viikko 44


Motion: THB that there is no limit to how happy money can make a person, even if (s)he had a lot of it already
Role: Secretary (opp.)

Money has become a sacred cow, literally, of our times. Recently, a research group declared that money is instrumental in raising happiness. In the following, I state why this is so, but why the state of things is also artificial, detrimental and false.

First of all, the result was reached in the USA by a male-dominated team, who are working within the confines of the contemporary world. We know that these days money dominates everything, unlike in the past when there were counterforces at play. If the research had been conducted by female-led teams during the Cold War in Europe, the results could (and most probably would) have looked very different if not the opposite. Namely, the USA is known to put emphasis on monetary values, males tend to be bullish about money, and today is greedy, vacuous and competitive. The research team was headed by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers at the University of Michigan.

Second, their team came to the conclusion and declaration that ”when the highest income class was $500,000+ a year, all respondents claimed that they were ’very happy’.” This is qualitative research, not quantitative, and even a single suicide among the highest earners might have revealed cracks in the armours of the bold and the rich; that not all was alive and well under the facade.

Namely, I can imagine why an income of over half a million a year brings happiness.
– The beneficiary can literally buy anything (s)he fancies in an ordinary store. Most items cost moderately, otherwise the poor couldn’t buy any of them.
– Because of wealth, any complaint others may have about the wealthy one will be aimed at things other than poverty, penury and misery. This would enhance one’s self-esteem.
– Thanks to a high income, the beneficiary may buy things such as guns, water, electricity generators, canned foods en masse and so on, giving an illusion of becoming emancipated from the intrusions in one’s life of the state, taxation and infrastructure. This kind of living can be practised at one’s summer or winter cabin, for example.

The latter reinforces a feeling of self-sufficiency and independence while helping to forget that usually most income-generation happens through the contributions of poor people. When the poor give their money to rich beneficiaries and through taxation to an infrastructure that enables all kinds of things, ”society” happens, as a matter of fact. Therefore, incomes of the highest orders of magnitude will just create a socio-cognitio-physical bubble that is especially contagious to the American mindset for entertaining a dream of a holistic rich independence. Elsewhere, it would be less appealing. Communist revolutions have happened everywhere else than on the North American continent. And it’s a matter of taste whether the Caribbean is part of North or Central America.

We, in Europe, have a more versatile perspective. Namely, one does not need €500K a year nor that warm bubble it creates to be and feel happy. The true sum is about a tithe of that, 50K. After that limit, our own talent, time and social relations with each other come to limit how we exist, interact and enjoy ourselves in this world. Our health, both mental and physical, is also affected by the lack of things of value other than money. No man is an island. The contrary caricature is the rich, AD/HD-riddled, autistic dilettante in any nation, North or South, East or West.

Puheen kesto: 5 min 5 sek
Arvio: * * ½. Puhe alkaa hyvin, mutta sitten se vajoaa omaan hieman vaikeasti avautuvaan ja tajuttavaan virtaansa. Erityisesti keskellä tehtävä koukkaaminen ns. tuomiopäivään varautuviin tyyppeihin on oikeastaan aiheesta harhautuminen tai aiheen vaihtaminen. Lopussa puhe taas paranee ja napakoituu. Lopputulos saa huonot pisteet mainitusta syystä, koska monet muut puheet ovat saaneet käänteisestä syystä hyviä pisteitä.



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