Paradox of Affluence and Maslow

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Paradox of Affluence and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

PSY/220

I believe that when researchers say the paradox of affluence, they mean to ask, “Does economic development improve the human lot?” The answer is an obvious no. American’s are becoming totally consumed in materialistic things. This is because of how much our wealth has increased and so that makes our purchasing of consumer products rise. Not to mention the effects that growing wealth has on our happiness, mental health, and overall life satisfaction. Only 30% of Americans say they are very happy according to national surveys, depression shows the most dramatic increase, and there is more suffering from mental disorders and emotional distress since the increase in wealth. The research on happiness and wealth relate to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs because in his hierarchy he answers the question of how to accomplish happiness. According to his hierarchy, to feel happy you need to be in a positive state of mind or feeling that is characterized by satisfaction or pleasure and he suggests that in order to be able to experience those positive feelings, one must first satisfy needs. His triangle consists of nothing but five levels of needs. Wealth is related to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs as well because having money to support yourself, your family, buy food, and have a place to live, is part of the needs. In the second level up on the triangle of needs is security needs, which defines a person’s need to have security, especially financially. However, there are three more levels above security needs and none of them say anything about being wealthy, or being able to buy tons of expensive products in order to be happy.
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