Cause and Effect Essay - Money Causes Unhappiness

528 Words 3 Pages
Although it has been said that money is the root of all evil, many people actually believe that they would be happier if they were wealthier. Could this be correct? This essay will support the thesis that not only does the pursuit of wealth not lead to happiness; it may actually make us unhappy.

Tim Kasser has written an excellent short book describing the scientific evidence relating to materialism and happiness. Kasser gives one striking quotation concerning Jim Clark, the founder of Netscape and other computer companies:

"Before Silicon Graphics, Clark said a fortune of $10 million would make him happy; before Netscape, $100 million; before Healtheon, a billion; now, he told Lewis, 'Once I have more money than Larry Ellison,
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What is the cause and effect relationship between pursuing wealth and unhappiness? Interestingly, it is not materialism which causes unhappiness directly, but that unhappiness and materialism are mutually reinforcing mechanisms. He notes that people who have experienced true deprivation are those who, later in life, are the most materialistic -- for example, those who went through the Great Depression often were materialistic in later life.

He then goes on to describe the evidence that insecurity breeds materialism, and that pursuit of materialistic goals fails to increase happiness, works against close interpersonal relationships, works against authenticity and autonomy, and works against the health and happiness of those with whom the materialistic people interact. He concludes with some broad suggestions as to individuals, families, and societies can break out of materialistic world-views.

Unhappiness and materialism are mutually reinforcing mechanisms. And we should reflect: isn't the effect of advertising to deliberately manufacture feelings of inadequacy, fragile self-worth, and so forth? Thus, it is not the case that all of this advertising and promotion of commerce does more than just capitalize on unhappiness, it is geared towards creating unhappiness, because that's what generates a desire to accumulate material things?

Kasser does not provide us with a grand sociological theory of the causes

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