Professor Richard Cameron
May 7, 2007
Lead a Good Life
When asked what they want to do with their life a typical college student will say they want to
lead a life that will bring them happiness while upholding their ethics.
This includes enjoying their work,
enjoying where they live, and making sure their job promotes morally acceptable principles.
given the context of today’s society this lifestyle is becoming harder and harder to attain.
If someone is to
lead a good life there are many factors to consider including economics and happiness and global warming.
Many people, by getting caught up in societal traps, lose sight of what they really want and therefore lead
unhappy lives and harm the environment.
Contemporary society’s economics and environmental crisis
make leading a good life a difficult task.
But, it can be done.
I will present ways humans can lead good
lives in spite of living in a consumerist economy and an environmental crisis.
Many argue that America’s economy is the world’s best.
Yes, it is the best, or near the top, in
nearly every money category such as per capita income, GNP, and unemployment rate.
economy is not the most effective.
The American economy is excellent at making money, but not at
making people happy.
Personal happiness is something every human desires, yet, according to a scientific study, only
33% of Americans possess.
Why is this?
Why, with all of Americans’ wealth, aren’t more people
Or at least why aren’t Americans happier than poor countries?
Americans, on average, have
similar levels of happiness with countries such as Venezuela and El Salvador, whose per capita incomes are
less than one fourth of the US’, and considerably less happiness than countries like Mexico, Columbia, and
Nigeria, whose per capita incomes are also less than one fourth of the US’, with Nigeria’s less than one
eighth or the US’.
The main reason American’s aren’t happier is because the American lifestyle is focused
Americans buy things they don’t need or even want.
People work maddeningly hard
because after their basic needs are met they don’t stop working.
Most of their grandparents worked 80
hours a week for a fraction of their salary.
People haven’t begun to realize their marginal utility; people
have continued working this hard thinking that worker harder and more will bring them even more
This is clearly not true.
In fact, the overall happiness level since 1972 has remained roughly