Elusive from even the slightest increase in their financial

Elusive as it may be,
happiness is a state we all strive for. The importance of happiness is
sometimes overlooked. At the end of the day, happiness allows for peace and progress.

When analyzing the causes of conflict, whether it be a multinational war or a
family feud, a generalized explanation could be that the involved parties were
unhappy to the point of confrontation. Unhappiness is also often a direct
result of conflict, bringing the issue full-circle. Along with conflict, there
are other factors such as health, freedom, and living conditions, all of which
impact happiness and overall well-being. Thus, the improvement and maintenance
of happiness worldwide is crucial, as happiness encompasses all that we strive
for as individuals, and it should be the main objective of public policy to
improve the facets of domestic well-being.

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It is undeniable that
money is influential to happiness. Enough money, in most cases, allows for an
absence of worry about food, water, and shelter. The well-being of those in
poverty, those who cannot sufficiently meet the basic needs of life for
themselves and/or their loved ones, would profit from even the slightest
increase in their financial stability. One could argue intuitively that overall
happiness within a state must be explained in large part by GDP per capita
(GDPPC). After all, GDPPC is arguably the best measurement of any country’s
standard of living. However, it is my contention that the effect on happiness that
a change in GDPPC brings to a population becomes ambiguous when citizens are
not in dire need of sustenance or shelter. In large part, the happiest
countries are probably those with GDPPCs which indicate that the average citizen
can afford basic necessities of life; however, among the happiest countries, GDPPC
should not explain happiness.  

 

 

 

The World Bank provides
an extensive and updated compilation of the GDPPCs of virtually every country
on the planet. The World Bank’s main initiative is to bring an end to world
poverty. Useful and accurate data are essential when setting baselines and assessing
changes over time. Any bias or inaccuracies in the data they provide would only
hurt their ability to effective achieve their own goals. Hence, they should be
seen as a reliable source of data.     

Since we are comparing
the GDPPCs of nations with many different currencies, it is useful to convert every
currency to the United States dollar. The World Bank calculates GDPPC using purchasing
power parity (PPP) metrics. The fundamental idea behind PPP is the theory that an
exchange rate between two currencies can be found using the ratio of the “purchasing
powers” of the currencies. In essence, this is calculated by looking at how
much the goods and services in a country would cost were it sold in the United
States. If a generalized good or service can be purchased at a higher quantity,
quality, or value in one market than in another with a unit of the same
currency, there are different purchasing powers in each market. The PPP doesn’t
always correspond with market exchange rates. The upshot of calculating GDPPC derived
from PPP is more meaningful comparisons between countries, which makes it the
most suitable metric to use for the purposes of this paper.

Certainly, many
elements make up any one person’s happiness, and happiness can be defined a
number of ways. This ambiguity makes measuring one’s happiness is difficult.

For example, ranking happiness with life would likely yield different results
than would ranking satisfaction with life. Questionnaire design is important
when analyzing the results of a survey. There has been plenty of research and
data collected on the topic of happiness. The World Happiness Report published
by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network provides
extensive and easily comprehensible data. They have conducted a survey in over
one-hundred countries and found an average happiness score (1-10 scale) for
each country with ninety-five percent confidence. It is interesting to consider
how much a country’s GDP per capita accounts for the average happiness level in
that country. Any given country’s GDP per capita can be easily retrieved from
reliable sources. The Beatles told us that “money can’t buy me love,” but what
about happiness? On the one hand, it is easy to see that quality of life is
probably positively correlated with GDP per capita. However, does food and
shelter imply happiness? This paper will examine GDP per capita as source of
happiness within a state.

States that have a
higher GDP per capita will not necessarily higher average happiness ratings. It
is fair to presume that some countries may sacrifice the population’s happiness
in order to maximize GDP. There are many negative externalities which are
caused by GDP increasing actions. Cutting down rainforests to export lumber
will undoubtedly increase GDP per capita, but would sacrifice the country’s
overall happiness. GDP increasing initiatives, and their effects on the
population’s overall happiness is incredibly important.

Culture of consumption
– materialistic culture, abstemious culture

 

 

 

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