Saturday, June 02, 2007

Five insights into wealth and happiness

Interesting article in the Herald today: We've never had it so good, so why are we still unhappy? It comes at a time when I've been wondering why the Howard government is faring badly in the polls when the economy continues to be strong and people continue to be well off.

Here's five particular insights the article had to offer:

Increasing numbers of Australians are discovering that despite the booming economy and rampant consumerism, work and wealth may not be the true twin paths to bliss.

... research by the Workplace Relations Centre at the University of Sydney shows Australians are fed up with long hours - men working full-time do an average 45 hours a week - and a third of those polled want to return to the eight-hour work day.

these electoral intentions are consistent with worldwide findings that people in affluent countries are no happier today than 50 years ago, even though their wealth has grown exponentially.

There's a sense that the pressure just keeps mounting but there is no pay-off for increasing productivity in the workplace and all the labour-saving devices that we have at home.

... the happiness of residents of wealthy societies is a function more of personal relationships than money.

As I read these comments, I couldn't help thinking it's all been said before. Here's five more quotes, this time from the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes:

What does man gain from all his labor at which he toils under the

So I hated life, because the work that is done under the sun was grievous to me. All of it is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired;
I refused my heart no pleasure.
My heart took delight in all my work,
and this was the reward for all my labor.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done
and what I had toiled to achieve,
everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind;
nothing was gained under the sun.

Whoever loves money never has money enough;
whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.
This too is meaningless.

As goods increase,
so do those who consume them.
And what benefit are they to the owner
except to feast his eyes on them?

God really is very wise. Wiser even than The Sydney Morning Herald.


David said...

great post.

God indeed is wise... wiser than the smh... and even more wiser than the telegraph!

Andy M said...

Hhhmm ... I'm certainly no Telegraph fan, but sometimes I wonder if the SMH is that much better. It's online version in particular is largely centred around celebrity gossip!! Other leading world city online papers don't seem to see the need to descend to such tripe. If there's an article on Paris Hilton, and an article on global warming, guess which one will have the greatest number of hits!!

But yes, God is much wiser than all these publications.

David said...

i think j-walk (see is ahead of smh and tele in the wisdom stakes!