October 31, 2014

More or Simplified Life?

traffic congestion
"Traffic congestion (2742078423)" by Photographic Collection from Australia - Traffic congestionUploaded by Oxyman. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

In the age where you can try everything is it enough to consume what we need or should we consume as many as possible to increase our happiness? Is it the pursuit for happiness that triggered the depletion of natural resources?

In economics, happiness is always associated to consumption. A person is happy when he can consume given his budget or income; consume more and it will translate to higher happiness. In contrast, if the person cannot consume using his income then he is not happy.

Economics of happiness is completely different from happiness brought by peace (or inner peace). Economics of happiness seeks to understand how to attain happiness in a world that is run by the monetary system. On one hand, inner peace seeks to achieve happiness without using money. Even if the two post contrasting ideas, in a real world both are important to be understood. What is clear now is that what we are talking in this article is the economics of happiness and not the happiness brought by peace.

The main question in this article is that; is it the consumption of more goods together with increase in happiness that will bring improvement to the welfare of the world? Or should we level our happiness, still being happy, but not getting too much goods from life?

Imagine if car is priced 1 USD, everyone would be able to buy a car; everyone would feel happy when he bought a car. Yet, the goods that will be used to produce billions of cars will surely deplete the natural resources; add the pollution that it will bring to the air. The scenario is an example of an economy with a main goal to maximize happiness.

It's always believed that too much is bad. It should be considered that there are other people in this world that we shared with natural resources. It will be an innovation if a good that increases happiness does not deplete too much natural resources; one good example is the technology that brought about the use of less paper; the technology in light that conserves energy and the likes.

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