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Paradox Affluence
Chari Kelley
PSY 220
August 5, 2012
University of Phoenix
2
Paradox of Affluence
When researchers refer to the paradox of affluence they are referring to how America has
became more interested with material possessions then with family or themselves. Instead of us
being happy with what we have we continue to try and get more and more. Author Barry
Schwartz argues that high levels of choice within a society encourage a maximizing
philosophy that increases the pressure to choose the best possible option, rather than be content
with a good enough choice by following what he calls a satisficing policy (Baumgardner &
Crothers, 2009). Life offers so much more choices than it did in the 1950s this is sometimes
difficult for one to stay on a chosen path. As with a college student who continuously changes
their major, I myself have been in this situation before. I found it problematic to decide on what
career path to choose or what car to drive. We as Americans want the best and many will spend
their last have to it. Its as if we all want to be one step up from our neighbors or friends instead
of us all being comfortable with what we have or working together to gain more. Christmas has
lost its meaning because we have replaced it with the perfect gift instead of the traditional family
celebration and its religious meaning Baumgardner & Crothers, 2009).
Lacking insufficient funds that help attain basic needs can be very stressful. Once we
attain the basic needs in life such as sufficient income to provide us with health care, sanitation,
nutrition and housing our happiness will shift to other areas in our life (Baumgardner & Crothers,
2009). This is when Maslows hierarchy of human needs come into play. He believed that
achieving higher goals for ones self was put on hold until basic needs had been met. Once those
needs had been met then our wealth had risen and our happiness had been fulfilled.
3
Reference
Baumgardner, S. R., & Crothers, M. K. (2009). Positive Psychology. Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Prentice Hall.

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