Q. ‘Okay, money might not make us happy, but what about making money? Can that make a person happy?’
It depends on why the person is making money. If they’re trying to earn their self-worth then no, they’ll just be a hamster on a hamster wheel, furiously trying to feel better about themselves. Or, if they are trying to alleviate their anxiety about becoming poor, then again no, making money won’t make them happy. The anxiety won’t leave them. Only when they feel they can handle being poor will that anxiety dissipate, and making money won’t help with that.
However, if they simply find it fun to make money, they are probably satisfying an innate need. In which case, making money could add to their core happiness. When we satisfy innate needs we are rewarded with core happiness.
‘Satisfying what innate need? To make money?!’
To solve puzzles. That need to solve puzzles can manifest itself in many ways, in many vocations, and one way it can manifest is as an entrepreneur solving the puzzle of how to increase a commodity, like money.
Murder mysteries are not about murder, they’re about solving puzzles. In the same way, for some people making money is not about the money, it’s about solving the puzzle of how to make it. That can be fun.
I can remember playing cards for money with my mates in high school. (10 cents was the average bet.) I still remember feeling the enormous satisfaction of accumulating little silos of money side by side. And gloating. What fun! The money itself didn’t interest me, but making it did!
‘You’re saying that some people who make lots of money are more interested in the process of making money than in the money itself?’
‘Then why don’t they give their money away as they make it?’
It takes money to make money. The more money they have the more fun they can have making more of it. Some well known people have pledged to give away their fortunes, but have not yet done so. I think they want to give it away, but are enjoying the process of making money too much to actually do it. They might argue that when they die their beneficiaries — the charities — will receive even more then than they would if they were to receive it today.
In short, if the process of making money is satisfying an innate need then yes, it can add to our core happiness.