Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Will increasing the incomes of all increase the happines of all?"

Few years back a group of economists conducted a study in which they compared the happiness levels of societies across the world. One of the questions they raised was “will increasing the income of all increase the happiness of all?” When we think about it, most of the time we relate people’s financial well-being with happiness. If this is true, the happiest people in the world would be the wealthy population.

Addressing this issue at a micro level, you may expect your happiness level to increase a little bit, if there is a bit increase in your monthly income. With the rise in income, probably you would be able to afford more leisure, fancy goods, or a nice home. Will any additional rise in income increase your level of happiness? According to those economists, happiness often depends on relative income as well. If your income doubles, and at the same time, incomes of your neighbor and friends triples, then it may not increase your happiness level. If your income doubles, while incomes of all the others remain the same, then will you feel happier? Depending on the answers that we give these questions, it may be true that increasing the income of all may not increase the happiness of all.

We may bring political reform with it provide us many civil liberties. We need economic reforms, with it should provide a livelihood. We also need social reforms, so that we can achieve the kind of ‘happiness’ that I’m talking about.

We may establish a society based on good democratic principles and even progress economically. However, economic progress not necessarily means improvement in living standard. With a rise in income level, there must be mental happiness, and the emotional well-being of the people in the country. Economic development if achieved at the expense of a wealthy society with high suicide rates, increased crimes, and broken families, then increasing the incomes alone may not the improve the happiness of all.


  1. Money does not "buy" us happiness... and apparently neither does voting for change... we are sooo....

  2. So you're saying that in order for part of the population to be happy, that part of the population has to get a raise in income while the rest stay at the same income level(and therefore the same happiness level)? That doesn't seem neither fair nor a very good government policy does it?

  3. Well, I thought what I was saying is that higher income alone may not give us happiness. There are many other factors in play. The other thing is, happiness can be defined in many ways. So we need to be careful how we define happiness ourselves.

  4. Many can get us our basic needs met, and also make us able to get the little extra pleasures in life. So I think any government should enable us to save for later, and also be able to spend on luxuries and pleasures.

  5. maldivians walk with a frown. we dont look and greet strangers and avoid eye contact. if you go to other countries you 'll see people working with a smile, talk and greet even strangers, are cordial and more relaxed. there are so much negetive energies, around here.