Compared to a few decades ago we, especially those that live in the Western Countries, are now richer , healthier, and living longer. Yes, and the gap between the rich and the poor is widening but, surprisingly, so too is unhappiness because studies show the richest people are NOT the happiest people on the planet.
According to the report released recently by Oxfam in 2014, the richest 1% of people in the world owned 48% of global wealth, leaving just 52% to be shared between the other 99% of adults on the planet. The study also found that the richest 80 people in the world now own the same amount of wealth as bottom 50 percent of the population. If this trend continues the top 1% will have more wealth than the rest of the world by next year (2016).
Now the question is why despite the rich getting even richer but their level of fulfilment isn’t? I believe the clue is in the changing fabric of our values that is reflected in our spending priorities.
Researchers tell us that the biggest proportional increase in spending has not been on charity or on basics like food and drink, but on luxury goods, such as mobile phones, travel abroad, recreational activities, and clothes.
Alarmingly, the rich now spend more on pets than on helping the poor in their community. People are now happy to leave hefty inheritance to a dog rather than to good human causes.
Recently, an American lady proudly announced she has put her dog (Bella Mia) into her will, alongside her two sons. Bella Mia will now receive the house and a trust fund that will take care of her, if anything happens to her owners. Rose Ann Bolasny loves Bella Mia so much that she spends $100,000 a year on pampering her beloved pooch Bella Mia.The dog gets her hair and nails done once a week and has an enviable wardrobe filled with 1,000 outfits to choose from.
Of course the trend of spoilt pets is becoming a Western phenomenon. According to BBC News people in Britain now spend a combined £6 billion a year on pets, and much of this is on pampering and luxuries that were previously only available to humans. This includes dog shoes that seem to cost more than people shoes, such as Ruff Wear Polar Trex Dog Boots that sells for £110.99 ($170),
There is even a, ” dog spa in London that offers body massage, coat whitening, claw painting and even a doggy spa day. This four-hour spoilathon includes a bath, groom, facial, pawdicure, a bow, a squirt of perfume and then a dog cookie to take home….normally selling for £199 ($300)”, repors Steve Schifferes of the BBC.
So the reason why the rich are increasingly unhappy is because they are becoming more self-centred and greedy. It is well known fact that helping others – especially those that are less privileged – is a recipe for fulfilment.
The dose for happiness is not in how much you give to help but in why and how much you give in proportion to your earning. You don’t need to be a billionaire to be charitable and happy.
All we need to do, as Christ said, is open our hearts and share our possessions with others in need.