Money can’t buy you love:
It’s all been said before, but it is now repeated (Free Exchange: Keeping up with the Karumes Economist vol. 427 no. 8962 October 31, 2015 page 72) that once ones income rises above some level of poverty, further money does not mean further happiness.  I declare I am surprised; the rich leave their ancestral homes, and I’d expect abject misery.  But that’s how it goes.

Apparently it becomes a competition; one wants more money so one can rise above others one sees.  Can’t say it works for me.  I’d like to have enough money to do for many years exactly what I am doing now anticipating it will be only a few, even if I am unfortunate enough to have my health (generally amazingly rude, except the past year and with all expectation of recovery) outlast my nest egg.  I cast about me, and I see very rich people close at hand.  Their resources are far beyond what my modest needs would ever require, but I do not need nor want that much.

“But enough about me,” as the rich lady said, “What do you think about my new dress?”

For most it appears that the wish for more money is envy of the next richer echelon.  Of course that’s just where I would want to be, so go figure.

Any boost in wealth gives a transient rise in well being that lasts until the next rung above is identified, evaluated and duly envied. 

The article winds up with a cheery, for them, note that this envy perhaps is what keeps the economy growing.  Economist, don’t you know.  I for one am not so keen on growth.  There is enough food for everybody; it’s just  a matter of distributing it.  And there is enough money.  A trillion a year American would be over 166 dollars a year for everybody.  That’s not enough to live on, but it’s more than half.  Do it with retinal scanning; the technology is cheap enough.  Anybody can open an account with the first scan.  That moment, and every subsequent transaction, is recorded along with time, GPS location and a picture of the parties to the transaction and their surroundings.  I’m half a mind to say anybody can add to their account.  The money changes hands, doing economic work, a number of times before it is repatriated, which can be done at any Amercan bank or embassy.  The outflow of cash will be in large measure balanced by demand for American goods.  After a year or two we could double it, and nobody starves. 

Other rich countries would jump on the bandwagon.  It would be crime-unfriendly.  The world would be better.  Okay, I’d like that.  But there need not be much growth, just enough to sustain those who now suffer.

Less or no growth would make it possible for our economy to be sustainable.  (Don’t worry about energy.  You fix the demographics and I’ll fix the power.)  Of course we are looking down the barrel of a demographic collapse, but we might be able to avert that. Nobody has ever tried, I mean not while knowing what you can pick up from these pages.  (Remember that January summary.)  And even if we can’t fix it, it would be nice to live in a better world for as long as we last.  Maybe we’ll be missed by those poor folk, (who alas will probably be following us down the long walk.) 

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