Scott J Higgins has posted a wonderful piece today shattering the myth that poor people are happier.
As with any myth, this notion contains a kernel of truth. It goes to the idea that they have more of a sense of community when compared to the rampant individualism of the affluent West. It also comes out of the idea that living simply leads to less anxiety. There are many people living in poverty who exhibit much joy in their lives.
Despite this though, it doesn’t take away from the fact that poverty is awful.
Poverty is about identity, a sense of being “less than” and trodden on. Not that riches make people happy; the social statistics for people in affluent countries are awful in different ways. Having some money though provides access to things like health and education, each of which enhance wellbeing.
Some points to take out of this are:
- Poverty is miserable, which is why it is incumbent on all of us who can, to do all we can to eliminate it.
- Neither a poverty mentality nor a riches mentality is Christian. I am reminded of Proverbs 30:7-9 which describes the temptations of both poverty and riches.
- Martin Luther King said that everyone has the right to realise their human potential, and poverty severely diminishes that possibility.
- It all shows me that the human family can all learn from each other.
Here is Scott’s post:
Upon their return from countries with high levels of poverty I often hear people say “they might be poor, but they seem so much happier than us.” It’s a comforting thought for those of us who live with great wealth. But it’s not true.