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.