“A founding economic principle that everyone is motivated by ‘unlimited wants’, stuck on a consumerist treadmill and striving to accumulate as much wealth as they can, is untrue,” a study published in Nature Sustainability said. “The belief in this principle has also had dire consequences for the health of the planet. Striving to continually increase individual wealth, and pursuing unending economic growth, has come at a heavy cost. As wealth has increased, so too has resource use and pollution.”
Dr Paul Bain, the lead researcher and a reader at the department of psychology at the University of Bath, said that while the figures in the typical responses sound like a lot of money, “when considered that they represent a person’s ideal wealth across their whole life they are relatively moderate”.
“The ideology of unlimited wants, when portrayed as human nature, can create social pressure for people to buy more than they actually want,” he said. “Discovering that most people’s ideal lives are actually quite moderate could make it socially easier for people to behave in ways that are more aligned with what makes them genuinely happy and to support stronger policies to help safeguard the planet.”
Dr Renata Bongiorno, a co-author of the report and social psychologist at Bath Spa University and the University of Exeter, said: “The findings are a stark reminder that the majority view is not necessarily reflected in policies that allow the accumulation of excessive amounts of wealth by a small number of individuals..."
Government figures show the richest 1% of households in the UK each have at least £3.6m. At the other end of the scale, the poorest 10% of households have £15,400 or less, with almost half burdened with more debts than they have in assets, according to data published by the Office for National Statistics.
How much money is needed for ideal life? Most are OK with £8m, study finds | Psychology | The Guardian
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