Provoking Imagery: Money=Happiness?

Our first task in Creative Activism was to create an image that would provoke, it could highlight an issue or just provoke an emotional response. This was quite a general task and meant we could use any issue we wanted, recently I have been thinking about the link between money and happiness and peoples general theory that the more money you have the happier you will be. This idea was probably provoked by recently watching “The Pursuit of Happyness”, the film stars Will Smith as a father struggling to support his wife and son due to his difficulty selling portable x-ray machines to hospitals when the opportunity to become a stock broker presents itself and, being an intelligent man, he gets the job. It was a very good film and actually based on a true story but the message of the film troubled me, it essentially said because they didn’t have money they were not happy and the answer to “The Pursuit of Happiness” is money. Obviously the film had very good messages such as the strength of family and how if you persist at something you can achieve anything but I still felt it relied far too much on the money problems.

However some would argue this is true, without money how can you be happy? If you can’t afford money, food, school and other basic needs then how can you get through life, I suppose this is true and I can understand that in that sense money does help you be happy but after these needs are met is excessive amounts of money only going to increase your happiness? This got me thinking about the extremely wealthy, are they happy? Do their huge mansions and countless cars really make them happy? Think about African tribes or those who live with far less developed lifestyles, they are still happy, in fact their very happy. They haven’t got a 50 inch HD TV or the latest smartphone to flash around to their mates, perhaps we have decided that these are the things we need to be happy? Because we live in a society entirely based money and the chase for more of it maybe we have lost our perception of what happiness is.

After a bit of research into studies comparing the correlation between money and happiness I have found that there is one main problem, you cannot put a measurement on happiness. There are so many factors that can affect how happy someone is as well as peoples perceptions of what happy is. This brings me to my provocative image I created, I chose to question this perception of money causing happiness by using well known millionaires, the dragons from “Dragons Den”.

My image is meant to play on the idea of poor people holding pieces of cardboard to beg for money on the street. They are supposed to be begging for happiness from the poor, rather than the poor begging for money from the rich, almost saying that wealth is not money but happiness is. I almost over edited it to give it some kind of deterioration to reflect their moral views. I know its a bit harsh to say that these people are evil because they have lots of money and of course I don’t believe that but I’m simply making a point about money not being the route to happiness. There a lot of factors that affect this argument and it doesn’t look like there will be resolution any time soon.

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