Paul Hargreaves: Taking or Giving Away?
I’ve been struck during the election campaign, as in all previous elections, how the rhetoric always ends up back with the economy. Who is going to be better off and who is going to be worse off. It reminds me of a story a dear old friend told me many years ago when he lived in a marginal constituency, so was frequently having candidates knocking on the door. (They don’t seem to do that anymore, do they, and now just resort to peddling half-truths on social media.) After being told that he would have more money if he voted for Party A or Party B, he started to become exasperated.
When candidate from Party C arrived at his door and again promised that he would be better off with them, he said, “I don’t want to have more, I want others to have more.” After a moment’s deliberation, the candidate from Party C said, “Well vote for us, then, so you will have more and be able to give away more!”
This story is from more than 30 years ago and things have become worse since then. Many people go through live accumulating more wealth and gathering more or better or bigger houses, cars and possessions. They think that the more you have the happier you will be. Sad to say, this is a myth. Several pieces of research have been done correlating happiness with income. Happiness does increase with income, but then plateaus and actually tails off a little. The figure of maximum happiness was $75,000 several years ago when the research was done. Probably enough for most people to have a good quality life with holidays.
Those people that are graspers and are never very happy. Those who go through life finding ways of giving away to others and hold material possessions the lightest are generally those that are happier. The opposite of what most in the West think. Lessons like this are best learned from those in poorer countries often who have absolutely nothing, yet are content and happier than many of the graspers in the UK.