National wealth decides individual happiness!

National wealth decides individual happiness!

Does the prosperity of an individual affect the economic health of his or her nation or vice versa? Does national wealth reflect the individual degree of happiness with the quality of life? Most of us are familiar with phrases like “Most things in life are free. For the rest, use MasterCard!” or “Anyone who says money can’t buy happiness just doesn’t know where to shop”. How does national wealth translate into individual happiness of citizens or is the rags to riches story only for a select few? Does the prosperity of a nation determine the prosperity of an individual and his or her consequent happiness? Let us examine both sides of the coin and see where the truth of the matter lies.


1. Enough money is needed to cover basic needs: Fundamental needs such as food, clothing and shelter can only be met, if you have more cash. The more money you have, the greater is the amount of products and services you can buy and these material objects induce a certain amount of satisfaction.

2. Money makes you happier: Gross Domestic Product is a direct link to individual happiness and Gross National Happiness. Consider studies which show that citizens of developed countries are happier.

3. Happiness research shows correlation between national wealth and personal happiness: Studies measuring national wealth and personal levels of happiness have found a robust link between the level of economic development of a country and its people’s happiness.

4. Economic growth means longer and healthier lives: A wealthy nation has more resources to invest in research and development as well as healthcare and this means a better, longer and happier life for its citizens.

5. Social barriers are removed with economic prosperity: Greater national wealth reduces income inequalities and erases divisions between communities in society thereby contributing to peace, happiness and social harmony.


1. Other considerations matter: While money makes us happier, other considerations such as how to spend the money, how much wealth you have compared with others and the way you think about your time also play an important role in the equation.

2. The paradox of riches: Income has only a modest effect on happiness, as per the Easterlin Paradox which found that citizens of rich countries were not much more happier than those of poor or middle income countries.

3. Money can’t buy happiness: National wealth is not a reflection of the degree of contentment of a country’s citizens because money cannot buy happiness. There are things far more important than money such as social interaction, community bonds and non material attainments.

4. Satisfaction with life transcends money: Political leaders such as David Cameron and Nicholas Sarkozy have said happiness is the best way to gauge living standards of the nation rather than looking at its GDP.

5. How national wealth is measured varies: While there may be a robust correlation between individual well being and national wealth, it does not imply causation. Moreover, national wealth can be measured in n number of ways so it is tough to assess the exact level of economic development of the country.

6. People in poorer nations are happier: Studies show that in poor nations also, people are leading happier lives.

7. Level of well being has not risen with level of income: In Chile, China and South Korea, studies have shown that per capital income doubled within 2 decades yet surveys show some amount of decline in life satisfaction of the citizens belonging to this country.

8. Relative income matters only on the margins: Levels of economic development differ across countries and being rich in a rich nation may not be as advantageous as being so in a poor nation.

9. Spending on little things makes us happy - Even if you spend money on less expensive things, you may cherish and remember them more. High quality relationships may create a greater degree of happiness than having lots of cash.

10. People may not get equal shares of the pie: When it comes to wealth distribution, income inequalities may create a situation where rich get richer and poor get poorer. In such a situation, rise in national wealth will not impact the happiness and well being of poor people.

11. Prosperity is not always equated with happiness: Well being is a state of the mind and there are many reasons why happiness may be denied to wealthy persons as well. Consequently, rise in national wealth is not related to the well being of the nation’s citizens.


National wealth has an important role to play in individual well being only if there is distributive justice. In the face of rising economic inequalities and lack of social justice, a country may be very rich but its a majority of its citizens could have a poor quality if life. Money may not buy happiness, but it does provide for meeting the basic needs of life and human existence. Provided that income inequality is eliminated, national wealth can influence individual happiness.
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  • RE: National wealth decides individual happiness! -Deepa Kaushik (12/31/15)
  • National health has definitely the firm hold over the happiness of its citizens. The wealth that a nation holds is very much important to evaluate the status and standard of living of its citizens. Though happiness does not depend only on wealth and monetary aspect, yet it is the financial condition of the nation that marks the economic status of the families.

    It is again the individual perception of happiness that determines the given statement. Happiness does not mean money. We cannot buy mental relief and satisfaction with money which remains the main basis of happiness of any individual. The satiety or the satisfaction level of the individual varies from person to person. This undetermined level of satisfaction remains the primary index of happiness.

    National wealth is again another criteria which is not specified by determined lines. National wealth is not necessarily the money or the source of revenue found in any country. The health of the citizens and other basic requirements could measure the national wealth. In proper aspect, the healthy and satisfied citizen remain the national wealth. And with respect to this parameter, we can definitely say that the national wealth in regard to health and satisfaction decides the individual happiness.