In today’s society, a person is not only judged through a clinical evaluation of one’s achievements but also on a critical analysis of what one owns. A ruthless, materialistic and capitalist society that aims at reaping maximum monetary benefits from each an every transaction or encounter has emerged. This has been evidenced by man’s struggles as he tirelessly seeks to achieve monetary glorification. However, this has at times come at a heavy cost, which has recently been evidenced by the ongoing global recession. This has prompted a deep, insightful analysis on the issue of wealth and whether it is the root of all happiness. Therefore, this essay will challenge this widely-held misconception based on the Free Online Dictionary’s definition: an abundance of valuable material possessions or resources; riches.
There has been a ranging debate as to whether wealth is the root of all happiness. Whereas this has garnered support from various sectors and personalities, it has received an equal amount of criticism. I will first seek to present various points in support of this statement. First, various individuals have been known to offer their wealth to charities which work towards alleviating poverty or in helping the needy. Therefore, by donating one’s wealth for a charitable cause, an individual brings happiness to an otherwise sad, desperate and needy society. Various celebrities such as Bill Gates have pledged their vast societies to societies, which, if well-used, could help those in need such as the sick, the poor and the needy. Therefore, one cannot lay blame on banks and other corporations for seeking money with a profit motive. A good or service is offered for a fee in return. These finances have been used in research and putting in place notable developments which have greatly benefitted the world at large. These companies are entitled to monetary returns. Otherwise, great causes would suffer.
Secondly, wealth is a reward for hard work. In most cases, the rich have put time, effort and a lot of hard work in order to enjoy their current statuses. In some cases, the wealth obtained may be passed down from generation to generation. These second and subsequent generations are only reaping the benefits of their forefathers’ hard work. Therefore, there must be a reward system that ensures that those who work hard profit from their sweat. People who have no financial woes are happy and satisfied with their life’s achievements. On the other hand, people who have great financial burdens are very unhappy about their current statuses and seek ways to earn fortunes.
Thirdly, wealth brings about freedom. With the financial muscle to do what you want at any time that you want to, one is far much happier than if a person was restricted or confined in his actions. When one is wealthy, it means that you are not confronted with the possibility of making choices between two items. Rather, you can choose to have both and not mind about the associated financial setbacks. For instance, if I was wealthy, I could choose to take holidays when I want and carry out other pleasurable activities that I derive happiness from. On the other hand, having little or no wealth implies that I have to work extra hard in order to save enough money to pay my mortgages leave alone take a holiday. Definitely, if one is experiencing stressful working conditions, he/she cannot be happy.
On the other hand, various points sufficiently prove that wealth is not the root of all happiness. First, I concur with the popular saying that stipulates that the rich also cry. There is a common misconception that being wealthy implies that one is happy. Whereas happiness is a state of gratification that comes from within, wealth is a physical attribute acquired through hard work, inheritance or other means. A person can be happy and contented, even without being highly successful in monetary terms. Therefore, happiness is the heart’s gratification and appreciation of one’s situation. Rich people have been ensued in scandals, failures or large-scale financial losses that have seen them get depressed, commit suicide or denounce their families. Hence, success, which brings about happiness and contentment, is relative and can only be judged via an individual’s self-rating.
Secondly, wealth leads to greed. The wealthy have been at times known to obtain their money fraudulently and illegally without caring about how many people get hurt in their endeavors to obtain these riches. In such instances, wealth is not the root of all happiness but the root cause of evil and destruction. For instance, when banks charge high interest rates and adamantly refuse to extend deadlines to those who otherwise face financial ruin if such measures are not put in place, we negate the most basic aspect of our spirituality: humanity. We fail to appreciate the fact that man can only be distinguished from other world creatures through two exceptional gifts: intelligence and compassion.
Thirdly, there are other gratifying avenues that bring about happiness. For instance, one may derive joy and pleasure from having a successful family, being in a good health condition and being able to spend time with family and friends. Therefore, the totality in the statement that wealth is the root cause of all happiness fails. Although wealth may present more opportunities which one may exploit in order to be happy, it does not avail all opportunities.
In conclusion, the points in favor of this controversial statement are outweighed by those in opposition. Hence, this essay shall conclude that although wealth does present multiple opportunities through which one may achieve happiness, it does not cover the concept of happiness in its totality. Hence, wealth is not the root of all happiness.