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  • Writer's pictureJessica Proctor

Happiness Isn’t Good for the Economy

FOMO (fear of missing out), the need for constant self-upgrade and increasing pressures on modern society to fit in all affect economy in more significant ways than you would expect. The world is crafted in such a way that, especially in GEN-Z, we feel pressured to feel spend money on things many people wouldn’t have thought about 50 years ago. However, modern spending habits root much deeper than the latest technology, clothing and makeup. Perhaps our spending choices are much more influenced than we believe.

Mental illnesses, specifically anxiety and depression are on the rise – and it’s believed to have a direct correlation with modern marketing. Questions that have been raised recently include those such as: would you really have brought that botox treatment if you weren’t made to feel worried about aging? Would you really have paid to see that film in the cinema if everybody else you know hadn’t seen it and you weren’t scared of missing out? Obviously, these questions can expand to such a vast variety it would be impossible to suggest all the examples, but it provokes thought into the plenty of times we have spent frivolously on things because of peer pressure and standards set by society, particularly on looks.

One example I feel is very prominent is designer clothing and bags. Is it a necessity? No, Is it always affordable? No. Do we always like what we’ve actually brought? No. So why do we feel the need to cling on to these rip-off brands, when it can be duped so easily for a fake? It is deeply affected by social status. Why would you want to be the only person out of your friendship group who doesn’t have the latest Louis Vuitton bag, or Stone Island jumper? The simple answer is without, you would feel less than. Social standards are no longer held based on who has a higher education or class. They have transformed into financial standards, where the person with the most money over morals is respected – and this creates a deep depression in the latter, causing them to buy things to gain the security they crave.

Another issue that more recently has been represented, is the puppy craze during the first UK coronavirus lockdown. People felt lonely, isolated and didn’t know what to do with themselves – what would help with this? New pets. It became almost a trend to fill this hole, but I question whether these new furry friends would have been brought had the lockdown not occurred. It is almost as though they were a cure to the mixed emotions and uncertainty the nation felt.

Marketing, especially in the beauty and sports sector, is based around the fact that if the company makes somebody feel physically insecure, sales will increase. Why would somebody buy a running machine unless they were insecure about their body? Filling adverts with models with great bodies, clear skin and lots of money makes people uncomfortable in themselves and aspire to be like them gradually decreasing happiness as this is virtually unachievable for the average person.

In essence, happiness isn’t good for the economy. If people were truly happy, they wouldn’t feel the need to buy many things and sales would drop dramatically. Manipulation by brands, social standards and mental health issues make it impossible for true happiness and comfortability to be achieved by many.

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