I’m not sure this is the sort of thing that should be running in a magazine that has a primary focus in success and the accumulation of wealth, but new research is calling into question the economic principle of unlimited want. This principle ties into the fundamental economic problem of having limited resources to scratch the itch that we all presumably have of an insatiable desire for everything.
The researchers asked 8,000 people across 33 countries how much money they would want to achieve their “absolutely ideal life”. The average answer came out to US$10 million.
Lead researcher, Dr. Paul Bain from the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath (UK) explained: “The ideology of unlimited wants, when portrayed as human nature, can create social pressure for people to buy more than they actually want.
“Discovering that most people’s ideal lives are actually quite moderate could make it socially easier for people to behave in ways that are more aligned with what makes them genuinely happy and to support stronger policies to help safeguard the planet.”
Co-author, Dr. Renata Bongiorno of the University of Exeter and also Bath Spa University (UK), added: “The findings are a stark reminder that the majority view is not necessarily reflected in policies that allow the accumulation of excessive amounts of wealth by a small number of individuals.
“If most people are striving for wealth that is limited, policies that support people’s more limited wants, such as a wealth tax to fund sustainability initiatives, might be more popular than is often portrayed.”
I’m not sure I agree with this quiz. It’s an out of the blue question and I think most respondents probably couldn’t immediately picture how much money they’d require for a lifetime including inflation, let alone need in surplus to hit their life goals.
The true test would be to give these 8,000 respondents their ideal amount of money and then come back in a year and ask if they want more. That’s where the rubber hits the road.