Erich Fromm, German philosopher, sociologist, psychologist and psychoanalyst, said: “The aim of our life should not be the possession of riches, but the riches of being”.
Erich Fromm, German philosopher, sociologist, psychologist and psychoanalyst, said: “The aim of our life should not be the possession of riches, but the riches of being”. One of Fromm’s most famous works is entitled “To have or to be?” In the essay, the author juxtaposes two lifestyles:
“to be” – deriving satisfaction from life by being, which manifests itself in empathy and fullness of love,
“to have” – deriving satisfaction from life by having more and more possessions.
From Erich Fromm’s work, we conclude that a lifestyle oriented towards “being” gives a person more happiness. But! The philosopher argues that there is nothing wrong with consumption or making money. However, this should be done in a balanced way and without devastating nature, for example. Following Fromm, is it possible to achieve happiness and wealth at the same time?
The World Happiness Report (WHR), the annual UN ranking indicating the happiest countries in the world, is compiled based on the average prosperity of countries based on income, life expectancy of inhabitants, social support, freedom, trust and generosity.
What can we learn from the WHR about wealth and happiness? Well, that the top ten happiest countries in the world are also among the top wealthiest countries in the world. Of course, it is not only wealth that influences happiness, because each of the happiest countries has a very well developed civil society, and its inhabitants value contact with nature, which they do not destroy, but rationally coexist with it.
A study published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour is also worth quoting. Psychologist Andrew T. Jebb of Purdue University and his team analysed the Gallup World Poll – a survey of more than 1.7 million respondents from 164 countries – to see how much money makes you happy after taking into account the cost of living.
They found that to be happy in Australia, you need to earn $125,000 a year, in the US it’s $105,000, and in Western Europe it’s $100,000. The earnings that give a happy life in Eastern Europe should be $45,000, or just over $171,000, so £14,250 a month.
How to become rich and happy?
We cannot agree with the saying that money does not bring happiness. However, the inhabitants of the world’s wealthiest countries are happy people. It should be remembered that the accumulation of material wealth should go hand in hand with sustainable development, including care for the planet and active participation in social life.