How materialism makes us sad

in books on (#3K3)
story imageThe Guardian has an interesting review about materialism and happiness in relation to the book by Graham Music entitled: The Good Life: Wellbeing and the New Science of Altruism, Selfishness and Immorality . The thesis of the book appears to be that materialism and consumerism create unhappiness that can be exploited to perpetuate the cycle of getting ever more things. And, that this relationship may explain why inequalities get exacerbated by the wealthy with power.

Two quotes of note from the article and its sources:
  1. A study at Berkeley University, quoted by Music ... "The higher up the social-class ranking people are, the less pro-social, charitable and empathetically they behaved " consistently those who were less rich showed more empathy and more of a wish to help others.", and
  2. "Those with more materialistic values consistently have worse relationships, with more conflict," Music writes. "This is significant if the perceived shift towards more materialistic values in the west is accurate."

Materialism vs. Wealth (Score: 2, Informative)

by on 2014-05-08 17:39 (#1G7)

Interesting that the title does not suggest that the rich are sad, but rather that the materialistic (selfish?) are sad. The book review spends a lot of time trying to equate the two, but without reading the book itself I'm not sure how "materialistic" was defined and whether the book makes the same conflation. While it's tempting so think the rich are unhappy, it seems it's not actually true: richer countries are happier, and richer people within each country are happier.

(Whether this reflects causation or not is left as an exercise for the reader.)
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