It may not seem like it to us, but research shows that moneydoesn’t buy happiness. Another ongoing controversy iswhether it?s hard on children when their mothers work.Scientists have found this is true?but only for wealthywomen!
On a scale of 1 to 7, where 1 means “not at all satisfiedwith my life” and 7 means “completely satisfied,” the peopleon Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 richest Americansaverage 5.8?the same as the Inuit people in Greenland andthe cattle-herding Masai of Kenya, who live in dung hutswith no electricity or running water. Calcutta’s slumdwellers score only a little lower, at 4.6.
Psychologists Ed Diener and Martin E.P. Seligman analyzedmore than 150 studies on wealth and happiness and found that”economic indicators have glaring shortcomings” when itcomes to determining how happy people are. They report that,in many countries, “although economic output has risensteeply over the past decades, there has been no rise inlife satisfaction?and there has been a substantial increasein depression and distrust?Economic success falls short as ameasure of well-being, in part because materialism cannegatively influence well-being, and also because it ispossible to be happy without living a life of luxury.”
Also, people who say they’re happy usually go on, yearslater, to earn higher incomes than people who say they’renot. We would think that being discontent would inspirepeople to succeed, but the opposite seems to be true.
Government policies that promote economic growth, whileshortchanging workers on things like vacation time, familytime and health insurance, will not produce happy citizens.Since World War II, the per capita income in the U.S. hastripled, but life satisfaction has stayed the same. The samething has happened in Japan and Western Europe. One reasonmay be that a rising economy, and the aggressive advertisingthat accompanies it, makes people desire even more things;therefore, they remain discontented.
A new study shows that most mothers who go out to work donot harm their children’s development?unless they earn a lotof money. While 90% of mothers work during their child’sfirst nine years, only 15% put in more than 35 hours perweek, but women in high powered?and high paying?jobs oftenwork longer hours. And the study showed that an extra 20hours of work a week among high income mothers didsignificant damage to their children’s performance in school.
Why would this be? One reason could be that lower incomemothers bring in money that buys necessities and thus isvital to family happiness, while upper income mothers mostlyearn luxuries that do not make up for the lost time withtheir kids.
Learn the amazing story of how one full-time mother tookcare of her own kids?and theghostchildren who lived in her house. Anne Strieber talks withKathleen McConnell on Mysterious Powers on September 11.
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