Money can’t buy happiness. In terms of GDP-per-capita, the USA is richer than almost all EU Member States individually. However, if you start measuring other factors (such as equality, life expectancy, wellbeing, environmental impact, etc.) then the US slides right down the rankings, coming 108th out of 140 nations in the Happy Planet Index.
Money is useful as a medium of exchange. However, critics argue that it shouldn’t be the defining indicator of success. According to some, we actually need to shrink the economy. De-growth, according to its advocates, is the only way to prevent catastrophic climate change and resource exhaustion. An economic growth rate of 3-4% a year means a doubling of human consumption every 20 years. By some estimates we will need two Earths to keep us going by 2030.
Of course, it’s easy to preach the evils of money if you already live comfortably. Roughly 8% of the world’s population still live in extreme poverty. Economic growth in countries like China has helped to reduce that number significantly since the 1990s, and the current aim set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals is to eliminate extreme poverty altogether by the year 2030.
Is money the root of all evil? Should we focus more on wellbeing, happiness, and personal relationships? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!