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金钱不能买到幸福

来源: 时间:2008-03-18 10:07:25
  "The hippies," claimed economist Andrew Oswald recently, "are having their quiet revenge." Oswald, a professor at Warwick University in England, is one of a growing number of economists fascinated by the question of what makes us happy. In a recent public lecture he announced, "Once a country has filled its larders, there is no point in that nation becoming richer." That, at least, should bring a smile to a few faces. Economists have suddenly realized that money can't buy you happiness? This is like the squarest kid at school suddenly discovering beer, girls and music in his 30s. The rest of the world had worked it out already.
  
  经济学家安德鲁•奥斯瓦德最近声称“反对物质的嬉皮士们正在暗中反攻。”奥斯瓦德是英国华威大学的教授,越来越多的经济学家开始着迷于研究什么使人们幸福,而奥斯瓦德正是这些研究者中的一位。在最近的一次公开课上,他声称“一个国家,把自己的仓库堆得满满,并不表明这个国家正在变得越来越富强。”那至少会使一些人露出会心的微笑。经济学家突然意识到:钱不能买来幸福,事实上这是其他人早已知晓的道理。经济学家们就像学生时代最听话的书呆子,直到30岁时才突然发现了啤酒、女孩和音乐。
  
  One of the things that excite economists like Oswald is the ability to compare data on wealth, education and marital status with the results of happiness surveys. In these surveys, people are asked such questions as "Taking all things together, would you say you are very happy, quite happy, not very happy, and not at all happy?" Economists have been trying to make sense of the results across individuals, across countries and across the years. The headline: Once a country gets fairly rich, further economic growth does not seem to make its citizens any happier.
  使奥斯瓦德这样的经济学家兴奋的是:可以将一个人的财富、教育背景和婚姻状况同他们的幸福指数做对比调查。人们被问及这样的问题:“把所有的事情归纳到一起,你觉得自己很幸福、相当幸福、不是很幸福还是根本不幸福?”经济学家曾试图通过对不同个体、不同国家、不同时代的人做调查,以找出其中的意义。重点是:如果一个国家变得相当富足,更多的经济增长似乎并不能提升其公民的幸福感。
  
  
  So, money does not buy happiness. Or does it? "In every society, at any point in time, richer people are happier," points out Will Wilkinson, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C., who runs a Blog on happiness research and public policy. "But that in itself doesn't tell you much about the relationship between money and happiness."
   这样看来,钱不能买到幸福。真的是这样吗?华盛顿卡托研究所的政策分析家威尔•威尔金森,专门写了一个关于幸福和公共政策研究的博客。他指出“在任何社会群体中,在任何时间,人越富足就越幸福。但这并不能充分证明钱和幸福之间的关系。”
  
  Richer people, after all, tend to have high-status jobs. They tend to have more control over their lives at work--why pay someone six figures if you're not going to ask her to use her own judgment? They also have higher expectations and will be comparing themselves to wealthier people. It's hard to say what is really driving the results: money, status or expectations.
   毕竟,更富裕一些的人会想拥有地位较高的工作。这些富裕的人往往更希望通过工作掌控自己的生活——为什么你付某人6位数的薪水而不去要求她运用她自己的判断呢?他们有很高的期望值,并且他们会将自身与那些比他们更富有的人攀比。很难说清究竟是什么左右着结果:钱、地位还是期待值?
  
  Perhaps each society's richer people are also happier because happiness comes not from absolute wealth but from relative wealth--recall H.L. Mencken's quip that "a wealthy man is one who earns $100 a year more than his wife's sister's husband." A more skeptical view is that while it means something to compare my happiness with that of the guy asking me for change on the street, it means nothing to compare my feelings today to those of my grandfather in 1950--or those of a Portuguese shopkeeper or a Japanese salaryman.
  
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