“More money does not mean more happiness”
Happiness and wealth shouldn’t be measured by money alone, two leading economists said when discussing “Francesco’s economics” on Andrew Azzopardi’s 103 Malta’s Heart talk show.
Economists Maria Giulia Pace and Lawrence Zammit agreed that money should not be the only measure to measure human development and success, as they argued for a culture change in economic policy and human behavior.
The “Economy of Francesco” movement was born on May 1, 2019, when Pope Francis wrote a letter in which he called on young economists, entrepreneurs and agents of change to commit themselves to thinking and practicing another type of economy. .
The Sovereign Pontiff has invited young economists and entrepreneurs from all over the world, regardless of creed or nationality, to initiate a process of global change so that the economy of today and tomorrow is more just, inclusive and sustainable, without leaving anyone behind.
“The pope himself isn’t saying money is inherently bad,” Pace said, adding that while “money gives you a choice,” it’s not the ultimate solution.
“But when you make money an end, instead of a means to an end…and what you see in western society is you’ve created a threshold – and that has been the subject of various studies – once you cross a threshold and have enough money for food and a roof over your head, more money does not equal more happiness,” said said the managing director of EY Malta.
Economic growth does not create prosperity for all
Highlighting the world’s most pressing issues, from saving the environment to justice for the poor, Pope Francis warned against careless exploitation of resources and short-sighted policies that aim for immediate success without prospects long-term.
Starting from the example of Saint Francis, the Pontiff stressed the need to rebuild a new integral ecology, inseparable from the concept of the common good, and which must be implemented through choices based on solidarity and the “preferential option for the poor”. starting “by solving the structural problems of the global economy”.
Veteran economist Lawrence Zammit explained that economic growth does not necessarily mean that wealth is distributed equitably, adding that wealth goes beyond money.
“There are social, cultural, educational, environmental aspects which cannot be measured in monetary terms and once we stop giving importance to these aspects, it becomes an economy for human beings”, said said Zammit.
This can be accomplished in Malta by shifting the focus from economic growth to measuring prosperity in terms of the common good, well-being and quality of life, Zammit said.
“We have reduced people to consumers and producers…and once they stop consuming and producing, they have no value and become disposable,” said the founding partner and director of Misco.
He added that government policies, including in Malta, can enhance social justice, for example by making housing more affordable and controlling speculative activity in real estate.
“Either we accept that we must prioritize the common good, or we can continue to allow individuals to become wealthier and inequalities to grow.”
The dependence of modern societies on money
Weighing in on the correlation between money and happiness, the head of the Church’s Justice and Peace Commission, Daniel Darmanin, said frugal and simple lifestyles often bring. more happiness.
“The more the society has developed, the more money people have, the happiness has decreased because we have become dependent on money,” Darmanin said, citing Bhutan as an example of a society that ranks in top of the indexes of happiness and well-being.
He added that consumerism and other habits often exacerbate problems such as pollution and climate change.
Zammit agreed, adding “we have been duped into thinking money is more important than clean seas or accessible countryside”.
Stressing that modern society has turned everything, including human life, into a commodity, Zammit said Pope Francis was way ahead of his time as he has been advocating a different economy that works for everyone since becoming pontiff in 2013.
Pace said this shift can be achieved by embracing simplicity and seeking happiness in nature and the company of family and friends.
You can watch the whole discussion below:
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