Equality makes you happy
Posted on November 7, 2011
Morality and happiness are two different domains of study and discussion. The ethically correct belief or action is no guarantor of happiness, nor is happiness a guarantor of ethically correct beliefs or actions. Simply put: ethical people can be miserable, and happy people can be unethical.
Yet these two subjects are sometimes intimately tied to one another. Consider, for instance, a recent essay by Jonah Lehrer in which Lehrer synthesizes a couple studies that suggest humans are happier (happiness) when wealth is more equally distributed rather than less equally distributed (ethics). As Lehrer writes:
The scientists speculate that people have a natural dislike of inequality. In fact, our desire for equal outcomes is often more powerful (at least in the brain) than our desire for a little extra cash. It’s not that money doesn’t make us feel good — it’s that sharing the wealth can make us feel even better.