[FOUNTAIN]Happiness not connected with incomeWhat’s the correlation between how much you earn and how happy you are? Some say that you will be happier if you can control your desires. Since how much you accomplish your desires is a measure of happiness, you will find more gratification by minimizing them. You have more control over your happiness than your income. However, most people wish for a higher income instead of controlling their desires.
Professor Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas and Lee Jung-min of the University of Arkansas claim that income and complaints are directly proportional.
According to their research featured in Newsweek last year, people with higher incomes tend to have more complaints given other common shared factors such as age, number of work hours and household size. They especially complained about a lack of time. The more money you earn, the more responsibilities you have. High-income earners are more stressed because of a lack of time.
The happiness scale of nations proves that income and happiness are not proportional. According to the happiness scale study by the University of Michigan and the World Value Survey, the citizens of Puerto Rico were most happy with their lives, followed by Mexico, Denmark, Ireland, Iceland, and Switzerland. The United States, which has the highest per-capita national income, was ranked 15th, and Japan was 42nd. Korea was 49th, a notch lower than China. A survey last year by the British science weekly, the New Scientist, showed that Nigerians were the happiest people in the world. The citizens of Mexico, Venezuela, El Salvador and Puerto Rico were ranked behind Nigerians. The United States was ranked 16th in the same survey. It is quite unbelievable that the people of unstable and poverty-ridden Nigeria were more content with their lives than the citizens of the prosperous United States.
Economists and psychologists are working to find the correlation between income and happiness, even creating a field of study called the economics of happiness or economics of well-being. Scholars say national well-being will be as important as gross domestic product. The government should be more concerned of national well-being than gross domestic product. With the rising unemployment, well-being is a dream for Koreans.
by Lee Se-jung
The writer is an editorial writer for the JoongAng Ilbo.