Well-being can be defined as a state of physical, mental and social wellness; those who subjectively report a high well-being live their lives in a way which equips them to realize their full potential of capabilities, while overcoming and compensating for any weaknesses (Villegas, Quality of Life in Canada, January 30th, 2013). Well-being however, is vulnerable to change as a result of objective forces and conditions of society also in accordance with the conductors of the body of research. When measuring a society’s Quality of Life, the focus of the research is swayed depending on the scope of the lens in use. Although it may not always be the case, both personal and communal circumstances must be taken into account in order to gauge a comprehensive measure of well-being. An important tension to be aware of while conducting Quality of Life research is the production to distribution of well-being (Villegas, Intellectual History, January 23rd, 2013). This tension entails the discussion of how to measure the time in which production of resources with the potential to better individual well-being can lead to an objective, observable, measurable increase. Questions of knowledge production and methodology surely arise when examining the manner in which individual Quality of Life is affected through innovations by society; while quality of life may look to improve the individual or common good, who defines what that “good” looks like is also an important facet to consider. Quality of life measures are subjective to a certain extent in that what each individual values and prioritizes as important and influential to their overall well-being is subject to change historically and culturally. Furthermore, the production and distribution of resources is a question of morality and social justice; some people have access to resources that are unattainable for others. Therefore it is important to note early on that what society regards as general well-being is flawed as it is extremely difficult to encompass what each individuals deems important to their personal quality of life in a comprehensive definition. Wealth is a resource of society, where one has an abundance of material possessions and resources, which is susceptible to the disparities of production and distribution. Again the definition of wealth can encompass any number of measures subject to variability in accordance with individual subjective importance; however in this context it embraces mainly a profusion of monetary resources. It has long been a widely held belief that a higher income and an accumulation of wealth is the road to take for securing happiness and overall personal well-being. The purpose of this paper is to refute this stance using theoretical and empirical backing by taking the stance of psychologist Tim Kasser in his book “The High Price of materialism”; which focuses on how the pursuit of higher incomes and thus an accumulation of surplus goods to satisfy society’s ceaseless need for material wealth can result in a decreasing subjective well-being. Presenting a theoretical framework and practical findings to support a rebuttal towards accumulation of wealth increasing happiness and well-being will result in an implication that changes in policy are necessary and should be imminent. The negative relationship between increasing wealth and life satisfaction is to be reflected upon next, after which alternative and more suitable measures for well-being will be discussed.
Governmental policies currently focus heavily on economic outcomes as indicators for well-being although they often mislead what society values. Using measures such as Gross Domestic Product are ineffective is evaluating a nation’s well-being let alone individual life satisfaction because it was never intended for such a purpose. GDP’s inventor Simon Kusnetz said “The welfare of a nation can scarcely be