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金钱不能买到幸福

来源: 时间:2008-03-14 13:46:27
   或许,每个社会群体中都是比较富裕的那一部分人比较幸福,因为幸福不取决于绝对财富但取决于相对财富。回想起亨利•路易斯•门肯的妙语“一个人,只要每年比他妻子姐妹的老公多挣100美金,那么他就是个富人。”一种更具怀疑性的说法是:虽然和那些在大街上向我乞讨的人相比,我的幸福感似乎有些意义,但把我如今的感受和我祖父在1950年的感受对比,或者同一个葡萄牙店主甚至一个日本上班族对比,似乎又没有任何意义。
  
  Wilkinson and economists like Oswald and his compatriot Lord Layard are thinking about the policy implications of happiness research. My own interest is a little different: Can the new breed of happiness economists offer us any tips for happier living?
  威尔金森,还有那些像奥斯瓦德一样的经济学家,以及他的同胞莱亚德爵士,正在思考着幸福研究的政策含义。我自身的兴趣略有不同:研究幸福的新型经济学家们能为我们提供让生活更幸福的建议吗?
  
  Much of the advice is pretty slippery. For instance, married people are much happier than single people. So perhaps you should get married? (Even better if your fiancée's sister's husband is unemployed.) Not so fast. More sophisticated surveys show that the causation runs both ways: Happy people tend to find spouses, while those suffering from depression don't find it so easy. And--not surprisingly--some people do brilliantly out of marriage, and others are utterly miserable. As an economist, I'm afraid I have no idea whether you should propose to that cute girl you've been seeing. (You may or may not take comfort in Oswald's finding that you can always get out of marriage: People are happier immediately after a divorce than immediately before.)
  
   很多建议都是不可信的,举例来说,已婚的人会比未婚的人更幸福。那么,是否你就该结婚呢?(如果你未婚妻姐妹的丈夫失业就更好了。)并是那么绝对的,更复杂的调查显示其原因是双方面的:自身感觉幸福的人往往容易找到配偶,而那些被消沉困扰的人则无法轻易找到爱人。有些人没有婚姻但成就卓越,而其他人却是悲惨十足,这并不令人意外。作为一名经济学学者,我恐怕不知道你是否应该向你所遇见的那个可爱女孩求婚。(你可能会从奥斯瓦德的发现中得到安慰,那就是你任何时候都能从婚姻困境中脱离出来:与离婚前相比,人们在离婚后往往很快就会感到更开心。)
  
  Oswald also suggests self-employment, if you can pull it off without losing out financially. "Everything associated with self-employment--independence, autonomy--is also associated with being happy." Both Oswald and Richard Layard argue that relationships are more important than money--and that includes professional relationships. "I've come to believe in the old-fashioned view that one should be tender in one's dealings with colleagues," Lord Layard told me in an interview. And what else? "Think about what you have rather than what you don't have, both materially and in your relationships and your personal strengths. To use the language of economics, don't try to rectify things that aren't your comparative advantage." This is spiritual thinking from an economist, but Oswald goes one better. If you're depressed, why not just wait? "There's a kind of J-curve describing happiness over time. Your late 30s are the most unhappy period of your life, but then the older you get the happier you are. Life really does begin again at 40."
  
   奥斯瓦德同样建议自我雇佣,如果你可以做到避免财务上的损失。“所有与自我雇佣——独立、自治相关联的事物,又与身感幸福有着关联。”奥斯瓦德和理查德•莱亚德都主张:人际关系比金钱更重要——也包括那些工作上建立的关系。莱亚德勋爵在一次访问中告诉我“我开始相信那些旧式的观点,与同事交往时,你应该更温和一些。”还有什么呢?“多想想那些你已经拥有的,而不是你所没有的。无论是你所拥有的物质、人际关系还是你的个人实力。套用一句经济学家的话,不要试图改变那些并非你相对优势的东西。”这是一个经济学家精神上的思考,但奥斯瓦德更胜一筹。如果你很沮丧,为什么不等等看呢?“有一种J曲线描述人们跨时间的幸福感。快奔40的年纪,是你一生中最不快乐的阶段,但之后的岁月里,你的年纪越大,你就越+7会觉得幸福。人生到了40岁才真的刚刚开始。”
  
  I think the most useful research, though, is by an honorary economist: Danny Kahneman, the only psychologist ever to win the Nobel Prize in economics. He asked nearly 1,000 working women in Texas to reflect on their previous day, list the different episodes in it, what they were doing and how they were feeling. Some results are predictable enough: Work is miserable, and commuting is worse. Others are not so obvious. For instance, praying is fun, but looking after the kids is not. Spending time with your friends is one of the most enjoyable things you can do, but spending time with your spouse is merely OK. In fact, parents or other relatives turn out to make more enjoyable company than the supposed love of your life.
  
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