Well, that was a bit of a disaster!
A post on giving a cheap, anonymous pleasure to children ended up with me being labelled a paedophile and out of touch with the meaning of happiness.
Oh, the joys of blogging.
OK, lets look at the money-happiness thing.
Can money buy happiness? That begs the question 'What is happiness?' I have no easy answer to that. At the very basic level, if you are in need of food and shelter, money will buy security and some certainty; but is this happiness?
At the top of the range, you can afford better health care, employ people to do the tasks that you don't want to do, live a better lifestyle; but is this happiness?
People argue that if they got a pay rise, they would be happier. But ask them how happy they are a few weeks after a rise and you will find them no more happy. They are used to the money and no longer get pleasure from it.
Have you ever noticed that you get more pleasure buying things than you do from owning them? You go through the whole rigmarole of buying a car, the research, the haggling, the joy of driving it home. A week later it is just a car. People adapt to new circumstances. If I was to give you $100 a week you would not get more and more happy each week. You would get used to getting it and expect it.
You can be well off, comfortably attended to and wanting nothing, and yet be unhappy. Happiness is more closely associated with contentment and satisfaction, whatever your personal circumstances. But it also seems to revolve around a personal set-point. People seems to have an inner happiness 'thermostat' that regulates their perceived happiness, their subjective well-being. Small things, even big things, will take you in either direction but you will usually return to your normal setting.
Footnote 1: Money lets you take holidays. Do holidays give happiness? The evidence suggests no. In real time, at least. People get a lot of pleasure looking forward to holidays and a lot of pleasure looking backward to a holiday but their happiness levels are usually lower while they are on holidays. The before and after perspectives usually ignore the trials and tribulations of the holiday: flight issues, food issues, accommodation issues, health issues, the weather...
Footnote 2: In my previous version of this blog I ran a small survey asking people how contented they felt relative to the 'average person'; 55 out of 85 respondents said they were more contented than the average person, 19 were average and 11 were less than average.
Footnote 3: A survey in the US found that people thought that people who had a lot of money were more likely to get into heaven. (They obviously are not familiar with Matthew 19:24)