Can Money Buy Happiness?, Ctd

by Patrick Appel

E.D. Kain responds to Jonah:

I understand the argument that the fancy new watch will not buy you the same kind of happiness that a quality weekend away can purchase.  But a balance has to be struck.  A lot of the things we buy are not really necessities, but they can make life easier, more enjoyable – even happier.  And a lot of the things we buy really are necessities: boring, humdrum, and forgettable. I know some people who continually spend money going out to eat, yet never bother to purchase new appliances.  Sometimes spending money creating great memories can make it that much more difficult for you to save up for a new car or a down-payment on a house.  I’d say that when buying memories becomes more like buying things the two become basically indistinguishable. 

Chris weighed in on this debate over the weekend. A expat reader also had a few thoughts on the matter:

As someone who owns around 200 things - cut down from thousands - I find happiness in simplification and non-possession. (Although like Chris my laptop is my pensieve, my precious. If I could create and store everything in electronic form, including clothing, I would be an exceedingly happy person. It's on the fritz lately, I can't afford to replace it, and that's making me very uneasy). I work for an NGO in Southeast Asia and earn enough to have a reasonable standard of living month to month, but cannot easily make savings. What I came to realise in January of this year, when my father in the UK suffered a massive stroke and I had less than 3000 baht in the bank to put towards a plane ticket, is that money may not buy happiness but it buys choice. Freedom of choice. And that, to me, is happiness. Or more accurately, it is the difference between contentment and discontent, a sense of order and one of chaos.