Reaction to Article:
“If We Are So Rich, Why Aren’t We Happy?”
In this article, Csikszentmihaly uses a clear method of research: data collection. The data in the article was collected from different sources, which ranged from philosophical theories that described different aspects of “happiness”, to recent sample surveys that helped measure correlation between materialism and happiness. There were different surveys that were referenced in the article that gave an idea of wealth had any relationship with “subjective well-being.” One of the surveys involved gross nation product compared to “self-reported happiness” of inhabitants residing in Germany, Japan, and Ireland. The survey concluded that Germany and Japan, having double the gross national product of Ireland, were less happy than Ireland. Despite the figures, another survey that was conducted at the University of Michigan showed another interesting result. When people were asked what would improve the quality of their lives, “the first and foremost answer was ‘more money’.”
I don’t believe this survey was well designed. Obviously money could improve a persons’ life. The question asked during this survey was not an appropriate one to ask. If I had conducted this survey, I would of asked people what would they want in order to make them happy with their own lives. This would probably change the outcome of the survey and possibly give more accurate results. There are also other weaknesses to the different surveys. The persons that participated in the survey could of possibly not been honest. It could also be assumed that every person has a different view of what “happiness” means to him or her, making it difficult to rely on results measuring happiness. I believe this study falls under social psychology since it analyses different groups of people around the world. The study was based off of different factors that were thought to affect a person’s happiness (income, material possessions, etc).