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Sunset boulevard: How much is good enough?

chandigarh Updated: Jul 19, 2015 11:49 IST

Making money is perhaps the most important activity every human being must engage in as without money his/her existence gets threatened. Shortage of money to fulfil simple requirements of life can lead to borrowing it from others, which can be demeaning and demoralising. In extreme cases, it can force a person to steal, commit frauds and even end life.

Money and wealth are governed by some laws — some that governments enforce and others that must be understood and voluntarily adopted to lead a happy life. Laws enforced by governments can be defective and people can fool such laws. The laws that are correctly interpreted and voluntarily adopted can become a greatest source of satisfaction and happiness.

First of such laws is — the more money you have, the more you want. No one has ever been content with the money one has; those who have more than they need, try harder to add more. This cycle never ends and in due course, becomes a spiral that leads to many avoidable problems.

Second, money-making is an addiction like any other addiction. It is wellknown that getting rid of any addiction is hard, addiction of making money is no exception. Money is of no consequence to such people, but since they are in the business of money-making, they must continue doing so day in and day out as a part of their habit. It comes naturally to them. Third, it goes as easily as it comes. History is full of people who made tonnes of money only to lose it in no time. Such people have no respect for money and money has a bad habit of not staying with someone who does not respect it. Knowing such bad reputation of money, it is easy to learn some lessons, unfortunately, no one wants to learn.


Most people will answer this question by saying, “As much as I can have”. They feel they need all that they can have and there is no sense in putting a cap on it. One needs the money to live a lifestyle one is used to. Lifestyle can be a very vague term, but any sensible person should be ashamed of burning money when 80 per cent of his country fellows do not have access to clean drinking water and other basic necessities. Some money is tucked up in a bank for meeting challenges of diseases, particularly in old age when you don’t have the option of even borrowing it as no one, including your dear and near ones, will lend it to you. If you are fond of travelling, you will need money. Some amount is also required for meeting unforeseen expenses like accidents. What else? Money that is left after meeting all the above needs cannot be taken to heaven or hell where everyone is heading to at the end of the journey called life.

All professional institutions teach students the art of making more and more money. Students spend years in honing this skill and develop moneymaking as an art. The ones who make a lot of money are highly respected in the society. In fact, the more money you have, the more respect you get from your peers, seniors and juniors as well as from society, in general.

It is unfortunate that in today’s market economy-driven world, GDP is the measure of health of a nation, not the GNH (gross national happiness) or GDH (gross domestic happiness). The world is learning many lessons from a tiny country like Bhutan, which measures its progress not on the basis of GDP, but by its GNH. We rank quite high on the list of billionaires in the world, but are poor in happiness index; ranking 117 in a list of 158 countries and below Pakistan, China, Bangladesh and Iraq. Obviously, more and more Indians have to work out how much money they need for living a happy life. The only connection money has with happiness is that it can help one to meet certain needs that can make one happy, but it can never fulfil every desire.