Materialist countries are more unhappy

Amelia Mia
2 min readApr 16, 2021
Photo by Brett Jordan on unsplash

The inhabitants of those nations for whom money is more important than time are measurably more unhappy.

That money does not make happy, should have been around by now. Those who live their lives solely to fill the account have to make many compromises and do things that may bring financial benefits, but not necessarily moments of psychological happiness.

And what applies to individuals also applies to entire countries: the inhabitants of those nations for which money is more important than time tend to be measurably less fortunate — regardless of the respective economic state of the country.

This is the conclusion of a new study by Lucía Macchia (University of London) and Ashley Whillans (Harvard Business School). The two researchers analyzed the “World Values Survey”. For several decades, thousands of people from almost 100 countries have regularly provided extensive information about their soul life — how happy and satisfied they are, whether they are healthy or financially independent, and what is important to them in life at the moment. In total, the authors evaluated 220,000 observations from 79 countries that the respondents had made between 1989 and 2016.

And Macchia and Whillans found a clear connection: people in countries that valued leisure more than work were more satisfied with their lives — regardless of their age, gender or financial situation.

Now, of course, there is no objection to pursuing certain financial goals or valuing material achievements. Ultimately, everyone has to know how they want to live their life. You just shouldn’t expect money to necessarily make you happy. And you can never warn enough about that. Or, as Macchia and Whillans put it: “Putting work above leisure is at the expense of national happiness.“

Amelia Mia

Writer, tools for thought,tips/thoughts/general hellos