Paradox of Affluence
Jerome R. Hoskins
April 5, 2013
The money for happiness debate is one that has baffled psychological researchers for years. It is in this debate that psychologists attempt to clearly define the correlation between money and happiness; thus solving the paradox of affluence. The term paradox of affluence refers to the phenomena that some people experience in which as their income increases their subjective well being decreases or remains the same over time. Within their research, psychologist have discovered that money only has a significant happiness increasing effect on those who are considered lower income generators. This phenomena can be explained through Maslow's hierarchy of needs which suggests that lower level needs such as food and shelter, must be addressed before one can begin to consider higher level needs such as personal fulfillment or self-expression. Lower income generators have a difficult time attaining these lower level needs, so as their income increases they experience less difficulty which increases their happiness and subjective well being. Higher income generators however, do not experience difficulty in attaining lower level needs. Their needs are not rooted in things that can be purchased such as food and shelter so increased income has no effect on their happiness (Baumgardner & Crothers, pp. 99-105, 2009). Ultimately, money only has an effect on the happiness of those whose needs can be fulfilled through purchase. References
Baumgardner, S.R., & Crothers, M.K. (2009). Positive Psychology. Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection database..
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