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Does happiness come from economic growth and higher living standards?
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December 21, 2011
5:11 pm
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Ha Noi, Vietnam
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Economic growth helps to improve the standard of living. However, some researches show that people in developing countries are happy with this trend; whilst people in developed countries are not happy about it. Explain why do you think this is.

Economic growth contributes to improve the standard of living, which is usually measured by the amount of goods and services we consume. However, surprisingly, happiness of wealthy people and countries is no greater. In this essay, I intend to give some personal explanations for this.

Improvements in living standard make people coming from Third world countries happier. As mentioned in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, basic biological requirements such as food, water and survival lay foundation for happiness of people. Compared to the past when ones struggled with their lives to make both ends meet, now thanks to economic growth, their fundamental needs are met, which enables them to reach so-called happiness partly. Even better, after that, people can progress to the satisfaction of higher level. With the concerns for these things lifted off their shoulders, people might have more free time to take care of their personal relationships, breeding a sense of belonging and fulfilling the need for love.

However, this trend seems to be of little help in people’s feeling of happiness in wealthy nations. It is nature of man to be greedy and seek luxury. When people are surrounded by too much temptation and see that others have things they do not have such as a glamorous car, a luxury villas, they may see themselves as losers and dissatisfy with what they are possessing. As a result, they continually strive for reaching a rewarding position with generous salary package in order to afford their own demands. Ironically, their works are very likely to take over their lives, and then they live constantly under pressure and have no time to enjoy their achievements as well as to spend with their beloved.

Admittedly, progress has both opportunities and challenges hidden behind. There is no general definition of happiness. What is of paramount importance in the pursuit of happiness is to know what we want and to be gratitude for what we do have in our lives.

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