Does Economic Wealth Lead to Well-Being

Topics: Economics, United Kingdom, Economy Pages: 4 (1324 words) Published: November 3, 2012
Does Economic Wealth Lead To Well-being?

In 1974, USC Professor Easterlin put forward that within a country the rich have higher average subjective well-being (SWB) than the poor. Nevertheless, the average SWB is uncorrelated with income between rich countries and poor countries. For example, the Gallup poll of 2012 well-being from Livescience website (2011) shows that Panama has 61% of people who said they are thriving, which had a greater score than the USA. The modern economy based on the opinion that the growth in the economy can lead to SWB increases. Surprisingly, economic growth does not bring more happiness. Therefore, this is the Easterlin Paradox. One explanation is ignoring variables, in the first part of this essay, noneconomic factors such as health, environment or family will be discussed, and these factors will counteract the positives of wealth. Then the second part will account for why economic wealth cannot measure happiness. There is also a certain amount of opinion to support economic wealth give rise to happiness. It will be presented by discussing GDP issues in part three. Well-being does not only depend on economic factors, but it also be influenced by work, environment, health or family relations etc. The Weighted Index of Social Progress sees Sweden, Denmark and Norway on top, while the Happy Planet Index sees Colombia and Costa Rica among the leaders (Measures of Well-being, 2006). And a few South American countries’ SWB is as high as developed countries such as Puerto Rico, or Guatemala. The above cases show that economy is one of the elements in estimating SWB. It is evidence that economic wealth results in the working burden raising dramatically. Working pressure disrupts the staff’s life balance and thousands of work makes staff feel anxious every day. As the economy grows rapidly, the environment is polluted heavily. It is evident that the quality of environment decreasing gives rise to individuals’ SWB fall. Another contributing...

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2. Dinener, E. 2000. Subjective Well-being: The Science of Happiness and Proposal for a National Index. American Psychologist, vol. 55, No. 1, 34-43.
3. Livesciene, 2011, Top 19 Happiest Countries (and the 20 saddest). Available from http://www.livescience.com/13790-19-happiest-countries-20-saddest.html [Accessed 16 April 2012]
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5. The Economist, 2010, Comparing Countries. The rich, the poor and Bulgaria. Money really can buy you happiness. Available from http://www.economist.com/node/17722557.html [Accessed 26 April 2012]
6. The Telegraph, 2012, British people are more miserable than Costa Ricans and Israelis, UN finds. Available from http://www.thetelegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/9184916/British-people-are-more-miserable-than-Costa-Ricans-and-Isrealis-UN-finds.html [Accessed 4 May 2012]
7. Yale School of management, What Are the Economics of Happiness? Available from http://bpp.wharton.upenn.edu/betseys/press%20reaction/Easterlin%20Paradox/YaleSOMInterview.pdf [Accessed 26 April 2012]
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