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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
EditorialsUp Front 03/09

Up Front 03/09

A recent headline ‘Money may not buy happiness but neither does poverty’ seemed so daft it was hard not to read on. The article was promoting an event put on by The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) – the UK’s largest funding agency for research, data resources and postgraduate training relating to social and economic issues. The point of the event – a discussion regarding the social issues that will arise in the coming months as a consequence of the global economic crisis – was to highlight the impact of wealth on wellbeing and to discuss whether increased wealth led to increased happiness, as well as, to what extent economic growth improves psychological welfare. In the current economic climate it certainly has relevance. In the past 50 years individual levels of wealth have increased but so have crime, deprivation, depression and addictions to alcohol and drugs. Most of us believe that more money will make us happier. However, lately, it is more likely a release from debt that will do the trick. In the case of bankers with large bonuses I suspect the answers may be slightly different – a solicitor friend recently explained how pleased he was that at last there was now a profession that was hated even more than his own. I think most of us would like a shot at seeing whether increased wealth made us happier but few of us will ever know. So let’s hope those that participate in the ESRC debate reach a conclusion that at least makes them happier. The rest of us can take comfort in another quote from the anonymous ‘He who dies with the most toys, is, nonetheless, still dead.’

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