Killjoy Was Here – God of the Machine
Aug 282002

Today Lileks has at some killjoy named George Monbiot, who’s arguing in The Guardian, where else, that money can’t buy you happiness. Actually he argues further, and rather less intuitively, that money buys you misery:

I hardly dare to mention this for fear of being accused of romanticising poverty or somehow conspiring to keep people in the picturesque state to which I would never submit myself. But it is impossible not to notice that, in some of the poorest parts of the world, most people, most of the time, appear to be happier than we are. In southern Ethiopia, for example, the poorest half of the poorest nation on earth, the streets and fields crackle with laughter. In homes constructed from packing cases and palm leaves, people engage more freely, smile more often, express more affection than we do behind our double glazing, surrounded by remote controls.

Well, Lileks can do, and does, more justice to this steaming pile of crap than I. But for my money it’s a sign of progress whenever this argument is offered seriously. Let’s face it, preaching poverty is not a winning strategy. (True, there was Jesus, but that rend-your-cloak riff was never too popular, even among the faithful.) If this is what the lefties have been reduced to then it’s sorry, game over, thank you for playing. Which is OK by me.

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