If Happiness Were the Only Global Currency, How Would the Most Important Decisions in Your Life Change?

smartknowledgeu's picture

If we all were to make the significant decisions in our lives based upon a happiness quotient instead of the resultant monetary gain, how drastically would our world and our reality change? Presented without further commentary.






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malek's picture

Pursuit of happiness is not the answer.
I actually believe the majority of people is constantly chasing instant gratification happiness, and that's the biggest problem as it let's them blindly follow the carrot the elitists are dangling in front of them.

All humans have this funny duality of rational and emotional capability to approach things.
The emotional side needs very little learning, can always make decisions very quick, and it is the sole source of real gratification.
However the rational thinking is the much better way to achieve long-term sustainability, and the only successful way if the other players are doing their best to obscure the facts and hide the goals and motives.

And on blocking the path to emotional gratification: why do you think pretty much all religions declared sex to be impure, a bad thing except for the sole purpose of procreation?

Loose Caboose's picture

I like this guy.  I like him a lot.  Kudos to ZH for being a conduit for such wisdom.  Peace.

illyia's picture

Well, the comments were interesting. Right now we live in a time when we may become actually useful to others. When everyone was ATMing new HDTVs and adding wings to the McMansion it was difficult to speak in moral terms. Now, a conversation about ethics and money is nearly normal.

This makes me happy.

spinone's picture

Money is just how resources are allocated

Happines comes from inside

New American Revolution's picture

Moi?   I don't know.   But I can tell you that Satan would be out of work, along with his minions like Lloyd B and Hymie Dimon, just to name a few.

Diogenes's picture

I would like to see someone promoting virtue as the highest good.

putaipan's picture

"real happiness lies in making others happy" meher baba.

blunderdog's picture

I do.  I'm hecka happier than you seem to be, too.

I'm an atheist and all, but that Jeezus guy just may have had some good ideas.

Diogenes's picture

If happiness was currency then drugs, as the pure essence of happiness, would be gold.

Diogenes's picture

Happy? Who the hell is happy? Do you take me for a child?

How much of your life is taken up with being happy and how much is taken up with earning a living, paying bills, caring for your family, and trying to avoid the disasters that come from living for today?

What if you lived each day as if it was your last? What if you survived? How bad would your life suck if you had NEVER thought about, or made the slightest effort toward a better future?

I know people like that. Believe me, you wouldn't want to trade places with them. It might start out OK but you never know where you will wind up.

besnook's picture

happiness is a warm gun, mama

besnook's picture

funny. another great quote by genghis khan was

“I am the punisher of God. If you had not committed great sins, God
would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”

optimator's picture

I've enjoyed everyones responses, and feel that after good health happiness varies.   You can start with nothing and be perfectly happy, and end with everything and be unhappy. If you have nothing you have nothing to worry about. If you have everything, you have everything to worry about. I was happiest with my first car, a part time after school job, and good friends. But, gas was eighteen cents a gallon, cigaretts five packs for a buck, and minimum wage for that part time job was a buck an hour. For every hour worked I could get 3 gallons of gas and few packs of cigaretts.

misnomer's picture

So, am I to assume that since you are considering happiness to be a currency, it can be bought and sold??

Isn't this the very concept that's got us into this mess???

Was this a high school term paper???

GMadScientist's picture

Some more postive vibe accentuation:



rfaze's picture

I love it when people tell me what will make me happy. It's like when my wife argues with me about what foods I like.

Just leave me alone and stop asking me to pay for your happiness.  

LowProfile's picture

What they actually mean is they think that THEY will be more happy if YOU do what THEY want...  As opposed to what you want to do.

Which is seriously confused, as nobody is responsible for your happiness except YOU.

tony bonn's picture

i wasn't able to watch - i am much more a reader - but i am sure that it was good and if you said anything near fuck the love of money as a motivation then god bless you.....

trembo slice's picture

Agreed.  No way I'm watching this seemingly Marxists shit.  I can't skim through it.  I think people that genuinely grasp and take to heart the subjective theory of value aren't motivated primarily by monetary gain.  While its obviously important it isn't the primary factor guiding my decision-making.

"What we obtain to cheap, we esteem too lightly: tis' dearness only that gives everything its value."
- Thomas Paine, The Crisis I

LowProfile's picture

You really ought to try being more open minded.

If you had watched it, you would have found that the author cleverly used currency as a metaphor to illustrate that our society's values are seriously warped.

Cynthia11640's picture

I've given your theory consult over the years, sat down and reflected on what makes me happy. I think you speak of eutopia. A world where people move forward based on the good(s) ( that's 2 distinct ideas there) they do. Unfortunately, the basic tenant of man is greed. And, if you're not greedy, your stuck just trying to etch out a living to survive in the world you live in, reality.
To think about happiness and doing what makes you happy takes, as you say, great inflection. Every example: religion, governments, Jamie Diamond...you gave demonstrated that people at their core do not have this ability.
Reminds me of the story of the man who searched the world looking for the meaning of life. He finally was given guidance by a man of god who pointed him over a hill. When he got over the hill and down the other side there was only a pool of water. He knelt scooped water into his hands and took a drink. When he looked up he saw himself in that pool of water.

Thanks for not putting an ad at the end of your article. It's nice to read an article completely out of the box

Seize Mars's picture

I don't think people are naturally "greedy." I think that people are smart and cooperative.When people can trade freely among themselves, the standard of living for everyone involved goes through the roof. The problem is the overhead we suffer in terms of our Wise Overlords in the government / industrial complex. Yes, they are "greedy." Eliminate the expense of them and you start building real wealth.

Obaminator's picture

Greed...Happiness? Really...The headline alone brings shivers to my back...How about this: go TRY to be happy living on top ramen, no heater, no AC, and no way of buying new underwear once you wear holes in them. TRY to be happy living in a cardboard box, or tin-shack down in Mexico where money isnt so goddamned available.

There are DOZENS of fucking countries in this world where the ONLY goddamned thing people have to even attempt to acheive is some form of "pleasure" or "Happiness", the problem is without MONEY you cant buy things to make you comfortable, and without that you cannot get out of the slums where there is sevre DISCOMFORT.

There are sheep, there are Shephards, there are Lions, and there are snakes. Its friggin wired into peoples brains. Sometimes you can move from one category to another. Sheeps can become any of them once they wake up...if they are Smart enough to wake up. Lions can become meek after age, noticing damage they have inflicted upon others. Snakes usually remain snakes as they are hard-wired. But the idea that people in general can form some bullshit utopian society where a huge portion of the sheep will want to mooch off others hard work is INSANE.

Its just plain natural for non-aggressive people to WANT stuff for free from others who are willing to work...watch Survivor and you can see a Non-Monetary community...most of them laze around while a few fish and get fruit to eat...and they carry on that way for 40 days. Both sides do what the do, or dont do what they dont, and rarely will a lazy person actually genuinely change into a provider. Wheras the worker will continue working because he KNOWS its in his vest interest EVEN if other mooch off his work.

Oh...people are naturally greedy for sure. "Capitalists" want to capitalize and mke as much as possible. Right or wrong it takes greed to do this. Opositely, welfare-takers are greedy...they glady take what they have not earned, how is that anything but greedy.

There are few people that fall between those two categories....there are go-getters and gimme-takers.

Utopian billcrap.

LowProfile's picture


...Greed...Happiness? Really...The headline alone brings shivers to my back...How about this: go TRY to be happy living on top ramen, no heater, no AC, and no way of buying new underwear once you wear holes in them. TRY to be happy living in a cardboard box, or tin-shack...

BTDT (seriously, I did)...

The key is...

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.  And even that isn't really very important.

Once you have the necessary requirements for survival, happiness is a choice.

Stuck on Zero's picture

There are millions out there who are happiest when they have all your money.

Boxed Merlot's picture

My understanding is the "pursuit of happiness" in the founding documents was hotly contested.  It stood as a pillar with life and liberty though it was understood to be a by product and not necessarily a worthy goal in lieu of the other two. 

Contentment would have been a better description but for many it means doin' nuthin.


MachoMan's picture

The question, as posed, is nonsensical...  the problem with "happiness" as a currency is that it is eventually met full force with resource constraints...  "happiness" is capable of being printed, just the same as fiat (or college degrees).  Eventually, happiness requires production.  This is another law of man.  There is no escaping production...  and, practically speaking, there is no escaping being required to do productive activities that you do not like...  that decrease your happiness.

What people need to do is be better stewards of their time and money and invest them in things that are more fulfilling (than say ipads).  Ultimately, life is about the maximization of your self interest, which often times coincides with the maximization of happiness.  Figure out the right weighing of life's various activities, and maximize your self interest...

mc_LDN's picture

"Ultimately, life is about the maximization of your self interest, which often times coincides with the maximization of happiness."

And then you realise that is limited at some point and that altruism is the next level.

JOYFUL's picture

Ah, MachoMan, words written true to the spirit of the...er, ...macho man - production, weighing, maximize, interest...all the heavy impedimentia of the traveller who knows only of his destination, and nothing of the road they travel...

  the problem with "happiness" as a currency is that it is eventually met full force with resource constraints...

I've long thought that were we to change from an economy of production to an economy of desire, much of our chagrin as to the apparent harshness and ultimately pointless nature of our lives would disappear -as well as the aggression and hostility that mark our presence upon earth.

think about it...

in the female of the species, the capacity for orgasm is functionally unlimited - unlike the male. If, instead of production(as in producing more children) we were to switch over to fulfillment(of desire) as yardstick of economic development, there would be a grand realignment of values in favor of the grace of living in the moment, perhaps even to the momentous potential of our selves that we presently carry inside as a secret badge of shame,(or at least our women do) - in an economy where there is no upward limited upon the currency of desire ...inflation and deflation are natural indicators of the  state of affairs, no printing or debasement can devalue the coin of the realm, nothing is drained from the economy to create symbolic representations of potency and power in the form of weapons of mass destructrion, and one's self interest rests firmly in one's sociability!

..."the law of man."...sounds kinda joyless, doncha think?

Overflow-admin's picture

"...words written true to the spirit of the...er, ...macho man - production, weighing, maximize, interest..."


Makes me think about the "quantitative farmers" (those who produce your.... nutriments), who destroy the soil with their "plow deeper" mantra and "let's kill all soil liveforms, we have fertilizers so we don't need an ecosystem". And they are proud of it! Sickening.

Clowns on Acid's picture

A nice dream....now wake up.

JOYFUL's picture

to what exactly?

Besides, it hasn't been six weeks at all - we're still in our Prague Spring, Hundred Flowers Bloom phase here! Don't be a Jiang Qing, c'mon, join the fun! The world needs more clowns!


MachoMan's picture

Here is a hint...  your human existence is insignificant to the powers of the universe and, practically speaking, the earth.  The trick is to have enough humility to admit that we are an economy of desire...  unbridled desire...  until, unfortunately, running head first into resource constraints.  So, consider your thought experiment over... 

now figure out how to be productive.

JOYFUL's picture


....allow me to suggest that you test your notions of what is best for the rest of us upon yourself first: once tempered by that experience there may be more to be gained from your unsought advice than is presently to be found.

"What we really need we may readily obtain; so readily, that far the greater part of mankind has, in the wantonness of abundance, confounded natural with artificial desires, and invented necessities for the sake of employment, because the mind is impatient of inaction, and life is sustained with so little labour, that the tediousness of idle time cannot otherwise be supported." Samuel Johnson

and more Johnson....

"All theory is against the freedom of the will; all experience for it."

MachoMan's picture

The comment was in response to your thesis of changing from an economy of production to an economy of desire...  and what I'm telling you is that this is purely fit for an academic vacuum and has no application in the real world...  in the real world, we are all subject to resource constraints, regardless of how much we desire otherwise.

Further, I propose that much of our present predicament is imposed by those who pursue desire rather than production...

JOYFUL's picture

Yes, I can appreciate the cogency of your argument applied to the situation as it exists - a world in which we filter our experience and it's interpretation through the physiological(and subsequent psychologlical) limitations of one half of the species.

When desire has a ceiling, and it's satiation is a logical consequence of it's appearance,  there is every reason to suspect the compensatory functions of sublimated energies such as we see daily in the aggressive and hostile attitudes of the men who rule over us...through an imposed culture of scarcity, loss, and abandonment of innocent carnality to the guilty pleasures of the flesh.


the essential point I was hoping to convey was that since in the female there is no upward limit biologically imposed upon sensual gratification, there is also no scarcity complex, nor urge for hoarding what is freely available...were we to apply that biologicially based perspective to our socio-economic sphere, the result would be to render inoperative the entire paradigm based upon scarcity and control of resources....and it's likely speedy replacement by one based upon a celebration of abundance...of pleasure, time, and very likely things like energy!

Whilst this may be more than a macho man can envision or consider participating in, I can ensure you it is no 'theory', nor can I lay any claim to an academic grounding from which to present one...it is what it is, empirically speaking, and in light of our present prospects of total mass destruction or enslavement at the hands of a few guys of retarded social skills, it may be well worth checking out...and I am certain that behind your jocular avatar lies a spacious and enquiring mind longing for ideas of practical applicability, like most of us here.

"It is common for those who have never accustomed themselves to the labour of inquiry, nor invigorated their confidence by conquests over difficulty, to sleep in the gloomy quiescence of astonishment, without any effort to animate inquiry or dispel obscurity. What they cannot immediately conceive they consider as too high to be reached, or too extensive to be comprehended; they therefore content themselves with the gaze of folly, forbear to attempt what they have no hopes of performing

- another Johnson quote to end with!

MachoMan's picture

What you're talking about is a rudimentary biological mechanism that HELPED SAVE HUMANITY AND CULL IDIOTS IN THE HERD.  Expecting this to go away as the solution to the problem is nothing short of naively optimistic.  Ultimately, what you're suggesting will boil down to central planning, something that at this juncture I would hope we could all agree is nothing short of a failure each and every time it is implemented (presuming enough trials are run)...  and, often times, in a major and catostrophic way.

I'm also curious as to what exactly you're talking about that is in perfect abundance and endless supply...  I can't fathom that a necessary component of your proposal wouldn't also be population control.

It reminds me of marx diagnosing problems, but presenting remedies that are completely incapable of fixing anything. 

JOYFUL's picture


since my own choices and proclivities place me about as far as possible as it is to be from both "central planning" and "marx" I must conclude that the dialogue, for now, is indeed unfathomable, to both of us, but remain optimistic that in a future discussion we may be both better able to understand each others' point of view....

mc_LDN's picture

Or your existence is being defined by you in real-time. You the ultimate harbringer of meaning in a universe where there is nothing excpet what you make of it along with your fellow "be-ings"

Obaminator's picture

the more I read this site, the less productive I am at work. Frick...im part of the problem, arent I?

Alea Iactaest's picture

You got that right: "The question, as posed, is nonsensical."


I clicked on this article only to comment that the premise is absolute rubbish. The author might as well write about "If riding unicorns replaced cars how would your life change?"


ZH is putting up more and more articles that have no place on a financial blog. There used to be a focus on actionable market information and trading ideas. Many, if not most, of the great commenters from the early days are no more. Instead, we've got pseudo-intellectual tripe like this and doomsday predictions. There are still some good articles, but the overall quality is down with the push to publish/post more often. I'm spending a lot of time filtering out nonsense, and this article is Exhibit A at the moment.

Overflow-admin's picture

Please go read MarketWatch, they don't philosophize and their articles are such greater quality... and nevermind the sarcasm dude.

JOYFUL's picture

I did not realize that ZH was a 'financial blog.'

I had gained the impression that it was a forum for 'actionable intelligence' on matters of pressing socio-economic importance to that minority of the population which places a high premium upon surviving and thriving through periods of economic dislocation. I am sorry to hear that we have let you down.

narnia's picture

Involuntary transactions enforced by guns inevitably leads to our current predicament. It doesn't matter what the medium of exchange is.

Abe Lincoln was assassinated many years before the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

takinthehighway's picture

Yes, and had he been assassinated in 1860, states' rights would have remained intact and the whole premise of a "Federal Reserve" would have been disallowed.

SilverSavant's picture

Hanging in Chiang Mai, northern Thailand.   Just finished up several days of dental improvements.  Just want some of you lovers to know that you warm the cockles of my heart.  Now just what does that mean?  Take it like financial news, just let it flow by and tweak the flow with your own vision of what will be.  It is each and all of us that changes when you let your creative will impact the universe.  Please be responsible. 

mc_LDN's picture

That s*** right there. Thats what were talking about.

Happiness isnt a place but a way of being.

Get busy living or get busy dying.

CrimsonAvenger's picture

I'm guessing the anaesthetic hasn't worn off yet.

GMadScientist's picture

I already get paid reasonably well (good for the US, okay for CA) to do what I would most likely be doing with my sparetime given my druthers anyway so my answer is "very little", but that's by no small accident the result of considering the proposed wisdom a long time ago when starting my career.

Chosing a job without your happiness in mind is just like the aphorism about marrying for money: "you'll earn every fucking penny".