The Happiness of Having Less

The tiny Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan, thought of by many as the model for Shangri-La, uses a different yardstick to measuse the well being of its residents. The king, Jigme Wangchuck, works to raise Bhutan's Gross National Happiness saying that it would be the goal of his reign to make “Gross National Happiness more important than Gross National Product.”

In time, they began to measure nine domains that affect happiness:

Psychological well-being or mental health

Physical health

Time or Work-life balance


Cultural vitality and expression

Social connection and relationships

Environmental quality and access to nature

Quality of governance…

And finally...

Material well-being.

Tha article linked below details many of the resources used by researchers to weld together the overall arguement that once an individual, group or nation's income surpasses its basic needs further income does nothing to raise the happiness level of any of them. In fact further accumulation of material possessions lowers the happiness index of each as they aquire more and more stuff.

In the city of Victoria, BC, civic organizations formed a Happiness Partnership and conducted a scientific sampling of the nine domains of happiness in their city. You can take the survey yourself: http://survey.dialogueresearch.com/. To conclude, happiness rises in inverse proportion to both material possessions and wants.
The Progressive Politics of Happiness - Nearly a hundred years ago, when thousands of women left the dismal textile mills of Lawrence, Massachusetts, to demand a better life, they carried banners which read: WE WANT BREAD AND ROSES TOO. Bread and roses were the twin goals of the old labor movement; higher wages to buy the bread; shorter working hours to smell the roses.