How Happy Does Money Make You?

Recently I read somewhere, Millennials along with a few other folks aren’t so interested in the “as per usual” American Dream.

I don’t know that I blame them.

Now don’t read this wrong. I myself enjoy work. I spent a few years of my youth living and working on a farm. There is no time clock on a farm.

There are animals that need to be fed. There is cleaning and maintaining that must be done. There are suckers on tobacco plants, and they aren’t going anywhere without you.

That’s the core of my work ethic. Although is ethic really the correct word?

The American Dream has a whole lot of holes in it.

We have psychological issues, drug issues, homelessness, gun violence, and the ever-expanding gap between the rich and the poor.

The American Dream is dog eat dog. So, when referring to it as an ethic, is it really? Ethics are a set of moral principles. Therefore, if it is an ethic are these necessarily good principles? Or is it something potentially very bad?

If an offshoot of your dream, is that it leaves some people to languish, while fewer and fewer succeed, is that morally upright?

America has the highest prevalence of mental disorders across the world. Across the world.

America has the highest prevalence of school shooting across the world. Fifty-seven times more prevalent than all first world countries combined.

America has the highest prevalence of illicit drug use across the world. It’s only a percentage or so better than most developed countries, so that’s kind of a win, compared to gun violence, but still, we’re number one!

Here’s some good news for you. America is not number one in homelessness. And depending on how you measure it, there are actually several who beat us out. Now don’t get worried. We’re still close to the top.

For instance, 7.7% of the UK population has experienced homelessness. Compared to 6.2% of the American population. We can still catch up!

In college, I remember sitting in a microeconomics class and coming to understand the definition of utility. It’s really a fascinating word. And depending on how you apply it, it allows you to derive all types of information about your satisfaction with your American Dream. Or that’s my position anyway.

The utility of money posits that more money is better than less money. So basically, more money makes you happier, but it’s measured in proportion to the amount of money you already have.

So you can’t just make a bit more money. To be most happy, at least in regard to money, you have to make proportionally a lot more money.

A marginal increase in your wealth, is probably not going to improve your lot in life. Likewise, a marginal decrease will not destroy your life.

But a large swing in either direction, can significantly alter your money-based persona, ie, your American Dream.

And so this is what we face here. This is our moral dilemma with our American Dream.

We have less people making a proportional swing upwards than we have making that proportional swing down.

If our happiness desire is to be as wealthy as possible, to have a nicer car than our friend, to have a bigger house than our neighbor, or to have a nicer purse than our Sunday school teacher, then you are directly tied to the utility of money.

If you raise your children to feel the same way, to look at the world through that lens, then you are either blessing or cursing them with the American Dream or whatever.

You want happy children, don’t you? How do you portray happiness to them? What is it reflective of? Are you setting them up for failure, or success?

So, if millennials have decided to seek out other options for their overall happiness, is that really such a big deal, or even surprising?

If people who, suddenly, were allowed to work from home, who were then able to spend more time with their children and loved ones, and found their life more appealing, more enjoyable, and ultimately more fulfilling, then why should they not pursue it?

Maybe, like the Millennials, this is something more of us should consider, not only in our lives, but as we react and deal with others.

The Declaration of Independence guarantees the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” It doesn’t say anything about cold hard cash or cryptocurrency.



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