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Round 1. LadyCool21 V Phoenix: Happiness

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posted on Jun, 9 2004 @ 03:18 PM
Debate 3

The topic for this debate is "Money can buy happiness."

LadyCool21 will be arguing for this proposition and will open the debate.
Phoenix will argue against this proposition.

Each debator will have one opening statement each. This will be followed by 3 alternating replies each. There will then be one closing statement each and no rebuttal.

No post will be longer than 800 words and in the case of the closing statement no longer than 500 words. In the event of a debator posting more than the stated word limit then the excess words will be deleted by me from the bottom. Credits or references at the bottom count as part of the post.

Editing is Strictly forbidden. This means any editing, for any reason. Any edited posts will be completely deleted.

Excluding both the opening and closing statements only one image or link may be included in any post. Opening and Closing statement must not carry either images or links.

As a guide responses should be made within 24 hours, If the debate is moving forward then I have a relaxed attitude to this. However, if people are consistently late with their replies, they will forfeit their replies and possibly the debate.

Judging will be done by an anonymous panel of 11 judges. After each debate is completed it will be locked and the judges will begin making their decision. Results will be posted by me as soon as a majority (6) is reached.

This debate is now open, good luck to both of you.

posted on Jun, 10 2004 @ 07:16 AM
First off I would like to thank Kano for arranging these debates and Pisky for getting me to enter them.

We’ve all been to the seaside as kids and played on the penny slots, haven’t we? Spending endless amounts on changing two pence’s, just so we can slot them in, and hope it’ll push the rest forward. Remember holding your breath in excitement and anticipation, and then your eyes light up as you win about 20p?
Or maybe buying a scratch card, biting your lip as you wonder what’s underneath, and feeling pleased if you only got your pound/dollar back? See, those little things that you paid for, they gave you a feeling of joy.

I could think of umpteen examples such as this, but one rather close to my heart comes to mind.

When my Grandmother had a growth on her face a few years ago, the waiting list for the National Health Service was at least 6 months long as it didn’t seem too bad. She decided the best option would be to pay and go in for an operation at a private hospital; she did this and was very comfortable and had a large, private bedroom and en suite toilet, with round the clock private care.
It turns out the growth was malignant and would have spread rapidly over the waiting months on the NHS’s list. I thank my lucky stars everyday for the health and wellbeing of my family, as I’m sure everyone does, but if she had not paid for the removal of that growth, I really do dread to think what would have happened.

The above are just a few cases of money buying you happiness, and throughout the upcoming days, I am going to try and prove that money can buy you happiness; maybe not ever lasting, perhaps only for a few seconds, but it did.

posted on Jun, 10 2004 @ 06:45 PM
Thanks to Kano for hosting these debates and the Judges for their long hours of reading ahead as these debates progress.

Welcome to my opponent in this debate LadyCool21, good luck.

My best days as a child were spent running in the fields with my cousins on summer days and then swimming in the creeks nearby. At dusk we picked berries but ate most of them before getting home.
No amount of money could replace those experiences that I had growing up.

Now many decades later when I need peace in my troubled day, I look back and wistfully remember those times as something irreplaceable that cannot be bought for any amount of money.

Winning at neither gambling nor lotteries is something that I remember as not significant however.

I am really sorry your Grandmother had that growth found to be malignant by a private doctor – hope she is doing well now. It goes to show why we here in the states rail against universal health.

I have to mention that if your Grandmother did not have the resources to pay for private care herself. She would have been quite happy knowing family members would have taken care of her needs in a way that would have provided a priceless trust that only family members can share. That’s something people remember far longer than direct financial assistance – altruism.

For the rest of the debate we should not rely on the pity of the Judges when it comes to family or personal situations to make our case whether money is the root of happiness or not. The debate should be based on more factual cases of altruism or corruption.

I of course intend to show the corrupting side of money that keeps people from being happy as they believe they should be when they have it.

posted on Jun, 12 2004 @ 05:59 AM
As I have previously shown, the above are examples that brought happiness. Now let us see what the researchers and experts have to say.

(image from
Professor Andrew Oswald, of Warwick University (also having worked for the prestigious Oxford University and various others on world-known economic journals) and researchers, have proven that money in fact can buy you happiness.

When talking to a recent news station about winning the lottery, the Professor replied “People think money is going to change them as a person, but in fact it’s their lifestyle that alters. If they were a kind, warm-hearted person before, they will be after.”
He goes on to say, “Who amongst us wouldn’t want to win the lottery? I’d love to win the lottery.”

And can you say honestly, that you wouldn’t want to win?

According to this research, as little as a grand could change a person’s outlook on life, although less than a million is unlikely to have a permanent effect. But money can’t always bring happiness. Good health and family life are obviously more important, and such things lead on to a person finding more happiness from money.

Professor Oswald notes on this, saying that there will always be other factors in life that bring happiness, and this is what people tend to forget when arguing against money, it doesn’t always bring happiness, but it can.

His research has indicated that happiness follows a ‘U shaped’ pattern; “with people beginning life happy but becoming discontented in their early 30s, before their happiness recovered and continued, increasing into their 60s.” This could suggest that during your thirties (where money worries tend to have a big impact, family life etc.) you have many problems to worry about, but coming round to retirement age, you can spend your savings on all the things you have always wanted to do; relax, and enjoy your hard earned money in the company of your loved ones.

(With thanks to BBC news online and Warwick Uni online)

Over to you, Phoenix.

posted on Jun, 12 2004 @ 05:35 PM
Welcome again to LadyCool21,

"Money can buy happiness"

Well I have to say if you are already happy then more money really will not change that will it? One could say I am “happier” but studies suggest that money is not the basis for that state of being in the first place. Money only reinforces what was already there to begin with so the claim that money make’s one happy would have to be false. Money can only be claimed to make one “happier”

In the February 2001 issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology cited for an ABC news story by Michael S. James, Kennon M. Sheldon, a psychologist at the University of Missouri-Columbia and co-author of the study says the following important points,

“In order to be happy, the study subjects most needed to believe they were autonomous and competent, to have self-esteem and to feel a sense of closeness with others.”

"People who value money, beauty and popularity more so than they value intimacy, growth and community contribution really look a lot less mentally healthy and are a lot more unhappy," Sheldon adds. "If you really are [financially] broke and don't have what you need, you really should take care of that. But a lot of us, we keep looking for more and more when we really already have enough and it should be more meaningful."

“The researchers concluded that the most satisfying experiences stemmed from fulfillment of the top four needs of autonomy, competence, relatedness and self-esteem, and the most unsatisfying experiences corresponded to the lack of those psychological needs. Physical thriving, security, meaning and pleasure ranked midway between the top four needs and bottom two, which were popularity/influence and money/luxury.”

“Sheldon says past studies have supported his study's conclusions — claiming they have shown that while Americans have been getting richer in recent decades, their emotional well-being has not improved, and that wealthier people generally are no happier as a group than the less well-off.”

It is apparent that the path to happiness is a feeling of independence, usefulness, belonging to a group and self-esteem – not how much money one possesses.

Certain religious orders such as the Buddhists are extreme examples of the above statement realizing that self-esteem is a cultural phenomenon interpreted differently by their order.

Switching to different vein of discussion I would like to point out that the initial euphoria experienced by lottery winners may be a short lived phenomenon as well.

H. Roy Kaplan, author of several books on lottery winners says the following as reported in the “Gaming Magazine” on Apr 17, 2002,

“Winning the lottery doesn't change people's lives as much as is imagined, said H. Roy Kaplan, author of several books on lottery winners. Kaplan has interviewed more than 600 winners of more than $1 million, and found that "people's lives don't change radically. You can catapult people from one economic status to another overnight, but a lifetime of beliefs and experiences change more slowly.”

"People who were outgoing and gregarious before winning took it in stride," Kaplan said. "People who were shy and withdrawn before winning became suspicious and paranoid."

“Most lottery winners keep their jobs, but find their relationship with co-workers changed. Most are inundated with requests for money, both from friends and strangers.”

“And some find that their lucky day brings them nothing but bad luck.”

“Consider these unlucky winners while standing in line for your lottery tickets:”

* Norman Fletcher of Deckerville won $1 million in September 1974, and then was sued by his best friend.

* Charles Lynn Riddle of Belleville won $1 million in August 1975. Afterward, he got divorced, faced several lawsuits and was indicted for selling coc aine.

* Kenneth P. Proxmire of Hazel Park won $1 million in 1977. Within five years, declared bankruptcy and his children and wife of 18 years left him.

* Larry Frederick of Livingston County split a $33 million jackpot in 1988. Frederick, was financially well off before winning the lottery, found himself awash in lawsuits.

* Willie Hurt of Lansing won $3.1 million in 1989. Two years later, he was broke and charged with murder. His lawyer said Hurt spent his fortune on a divorce and crack coc aine.

“Money doesn't change a person's level of happiness, said Kennon Sheldon, a psychologist at the University of Missouri at Columbia. "We consistently find that people who say money is most important to them are (the unhappiest)," Sheldon said.”

As I said in my introduction there’s a corruption that sets in for people that are counting on money to buy the happiness not possessed. That corruption is an attempt to shortcut the path all must all take in order to find what makes us happy, how to be happy in the truest sense possible.

800 Words

posted on Jun, 13 2004 @ 05:31 AM
Now, as Phoenix kindly stated before, money may not make you happy, it may make you happier; this is completely true, since the question asked is ‘Can money buy happiness’ not ‘Can money make you happy?’ so yes, money can make you happier.

As I have shown before, little amounts of money, a voucher for your birthday, or money from your Grandmother as a child to go buy and ice cream; it made you smile, and for those few moments, it was money that made you happier, on top of being with your loved ones or celebrating a special day.

However, I believe money can make you happy; when you’ve had a bad week, but its payday today, which makes you happy doesn’t it? When you’ve been saving up for those new shoes that you’ve been pining after every time you slink past the shop window (you were just passing by that way…) and you can finally afford them, that makes you happy, doesn’t it?

Of course, as my opponent has shown, money can corrupt people, but it doesn’t corrupt everyone, does it? Many people can gain large amounts of money and live very happy, successful lives, more so than what they had had previously.

One could say that money can’t truly make you happy, this is to be debated, but not here, since the question is ‘Can money buy happiness?’ not ‘Can money make you truly happy?’

Then of course, one asks if my case isn’t true, then why do so many people play the lottery? Filling a void, perhaps? Their life is so unhappy they think money will fill that hole? Obviously this can’t be the case for everyone; otherwise we’d have a lot of unhappy people walking around…

In third-world countries, money isn’t priority, and other things make them happy, they focus their attention to their loved ones; this proves that money isn’t everything and that there are more important things in the world, which I whole heartedly agree with, but nevertheless, it’s hard to dispute that money can’t being happiness, isn’t it?

And although you’re argument is well-researched Phoenix, you can’t base an argument of generality over specifics, can you?

Over to you…

posted on Jun, 14 2004 @ 01:26 PM
LadyCool21 my compliments on your ability at wordplay and semantics it was quite good and entertaining at the same time, unfortunately the operative word in the statement “Money can buy happiness” is the word “buy” as in purchase. The word “happiness” is a questioned end or goal, the basis for this debate. I do have to remind everyone that the debate question was "Money can buy happiness" not "Can money buy happiness" as stated in the last post, would'nt want any misunderstanding of the subject to occur. My assertion that already happy people remain happy when they have money is borne out in the studies cited in my previous posts. Conversely already unhappy people remain unhappy even after receiving windfalls once they realize (if ever) it still cannot purchase that which cannot be bought.

I think the big mistake made by many is that they are confusing pleasure with happiness. Pleasure is a seductively fleeting false goddess that always demands more of its disciples in an ever-increasing effort to find something more pleasing and pleasurable than the last time. This might explain the addictive nature of lotteries (gambling), credit card abuse (shopaholic) and other known emotional addictions surrounding money – all of them seem to be mistaking pleasure for happiness, a state of being which cannot be purchased, bought nor given by anyone. Happiness is something to be achieved.

If one could buy or purchase happiness, then it would also be reasonable to assert in the affirmative “can money buy love”. We all know the answer to that proposition and agree there exists no argument to favor saying that love could be purchased with money so it hardly seems even a plausible argument to say one could purchase or buy “happiness”.

Over to you LadyCool21

posted on Jun, 15 2004 @ 09:45 AM
‘Can money buy happiness?’ ‘Money can buy you happiness’ ? Now, as far as I am aware of, in this case, it makes no difference when re-arranging words. The word ‘buy’ is still featured. Buy, to purchase, you’re exactly right there, Phoenix.
When one buys those new shoes that I mentioned before, one is purchasing them.

I kindly looked up the ‘seductively fleeting goddess’ for the readers

Entry: Pleasure
Function: Noun
Definition: Happiness

Now, I took the liberty of also looking up happiness,

hap-pi-ness n.
Synonyms: happy, fortunate, lucky, providential
These adjectives mean attended by luck or good fortune: a happy outcome; a fortunate omen; a lucky guess; a providential recovery


Fortunate –
1. Bringing something good and unforeseen; auspicious.
2. Having unexpected good fortune; lucky
One who has good fortune; especially a wealthy person.

So, as we can see the dictionary seems to believe that pleasure and happiness are very much the same thing, pleasure being a much shorter version, perhaps? In which case, they are still the same, as the phrase ‘A brief moment of happiness’ exists.

To anyone who has ever been in love, you know the feeling, when your heart skips a beat and you held you breath as that certain one comes to hold you tight and keep you safe; and you know that your life is complete? That, is the highest form of happiness. This happiness cannot be bought, and I would be a fool to suggest such a thing.

But happiness can be bought in the form of a takeaway, a CD player or a book, it brings joy to your life, it may not last for long, but it still has the power to bring a smile to your face; this power is a strong one. And with power comes responsibility, to quote a certain Aunt May…
This is one explanation for gamblers and people in debt, this great power can be hard to control, that is when it becomes a dangerous thing; but happiness in itself can be a very dangerous thing, bringing many emotional problems with it.

Sources for this post:
For my others:

Over to you Phoenix for your closing speech; I’d like to say well done for your posts, it’s been a pleasure working with you! May the best debater win…

posted on Jun, 15 2004 @ 10:35 PM
Thanks for the definitions from LadyCool21. I’d like to reference a more authoritative source that hopefully will provide a more demonstrative use of the terms than was designed to do, if you please.

According to Cambridge Dictionaries available online at the more complete definition of “Happiness” a derivative of the word “Happy” is the following,

Feeling, showing or causing pleasure or satisfaction:
A happy marriage/childhood
She looks so happy.
School days are said to be the happiest days of your life.
Nicky seems a lot happier since she met Steve.
You'll be happy to know that Jean is coming with us.
I'm perfectly happy to (= I will willingly) help out.
I'm so happy (that) everything is working out for you.
Barry seems happy enough working for himself.
Are you happy about/with (= satisfied with) your new working arrangements?
Your mother's not going to be very happy when she sees the mess you've made!
FORMAL The manager will be happy (= is willing) to see you this afternoon

The derivative “Happiness”

Noun [U]
The feeling of being happy:
It was only later in life that she found happiness and peace of mind.
FORMAL Will you join me in wishing the bride and groom every happiness?

And the plural definition of “Pleasure” – “Pleasurable”

A pleasurable evening/meal
A pleasurable sensation

It is noticeable that in the more academically accepted Cambridge Dictionary no reference is made to money, fortune, providence or luck. On the contrary as I have held throughout this friendly debate the Cambridge definition speaks to emotional experiences more important than an ice cream cone or new purse and shoes as shown in the definition of “pleasurable” as being a “sensation”. Sensations are not something we can judge our happiness on. Sensations and the pursuit of greater and greater amounts are the cause of much malaise in our society according to the American Psychological Association.

Let me now introduce the findings of a study found on the American Psychological Association website entitled “If I Were A Rich Man...”,

Quoted from the APA,
“We all know the saying that “Money can’t buy happiness.” Recent psychological research has not only shown the truth of this maxim, but has begun to demonstrate that when people organize their lives around the pursuit of wealth, their happiness can actually decrease.”

“Research on how happiness relates to material wealth by psychologists Edward Diener, Ph.D., and David Myers, Ph.D., clearly documents that people are happier if they live in wealthy rather than poor nations. However, once individuals have enough money to pay for their basic needs of food, shelter, etc., money does relatively little to improve happiness. Further, increases in neither national economic growth nor personal income have much effect on changes in the personal happiness of citizens.”

I encourage judges and audience to study the APA site, peruse the information available along with using links provided by the APA at the end of their article for further insight into the subject of “Money Can Buy Happiness”

Now that we have gone through an education on word definitions, referenced studies supporting the assertion money doesn’t equal happiness let’s address some of my debate partners assertions.

The power of advertising and capitalist market economy’s conspired for hundreds of years to make people believe that the attainment of material goods will indeed be the path and solution to the age old question of happiness. I can understand LadyCool21 equating a fleeting temporarily pleasurable experience such as affording a takeaway, CD, book, shoes or even a chance at a winning lottery ticket because this is what has been falsely taught to all of us in western industrialized nations almost from birth. Happiness is the attainment wealth, people that espouse happiness without wealth are considered odd or eccentric by most members of western society – they have ideals that create suspicion amongst the brainwashed masses of advertising victims that most have become.

Want some proof of this, ask yourself how many times have you judged someone’s worth, smartness and by default happiness by the car they drive or the clothes they wear and where they live – have you sat in judgement due to societal norms, bet you have. Because if you haven’t you can consider yourself unusual in this respect. Why? Because social programming has been in place to prevent your thinking happiness can be obtained any other way for many years.

Many of us have become enlightened through rejection of the status quo early on, the wisdom of age or just plain stubbornness in not accepting things the way they are. I think we are truly the happiest and most realistic group in society because we know better than to equate money with our happiness.

posted on Jun, 16 2004 @ 10:03 AM
As I have shown over the course of this debate, money CAN buy happiness.

Nothing in life can replace loved ones or those cherished moments with them, however, it can add to this, and bring even more happiness to your life.

Living without financial worries would be a god send to many, can you honestly say someone in debt had the chance to clear it and live comfortably with their family, wouldn't be happy?
And can you honestly say that someone living below the poverty line, who inherited thousands, if not millions, would NOT be happy?

I think not.

As I have stressed throughout this argument, money isn't everything, however, it can bring happiness, even if it is for a short time.

"Those who think money can't buy happiness are in the wrong shop" Anon.

Thank you once again to Kano, Pisky, Gryffen and of course, Phoenix.

posted on Jun, 17 2004 @ 12:58 PM
Summarizing our debate LadyCool21 surmised that even the smallest sense of gratification stands as proof that money can buy happiness, this belief is mostly predicated on LadyCool21’s personal feelings rather than on more concrete third party references.

What references were supplied are suspect in veracity, such as Professor Andrew Oswald, of Warwick University, an economist by vocation not a psychologist trained in the techniques of doing a proper study on what really construes “happiness”.

It was notable that in the quoted sentence “If they were a kind, warm-hearted person before, they will be after.” Professor Oswald actually supported my assertion in debate post #1 that reads,
“Well I have to say if you are already happy then more money really will not change that will it?”

On the other hand I referenced experts trained in psychology, the correct field of discipline to determine what happiness means, reviewing what was said I offer the following,

Kennon M. Sheldon, a psychologist on what it takes to be happy,

“In order to be happy, the study subjects most needed to believe they were autonomous and competent, to have self-esteem and to feel a sense of closeness with others.”

Sheldon then went on to give attributes about unhappy people,

"People who value money, beauty and popularity more so than they value intimacy, growth and community contribution really look a lot less mentally healthy and are a lot more unhappy,"

The American Psychological Association link provided in post #3 backs this up by saying,

“Further, increases in neither national economic growth nor personal income have much effect on changes in the personal happiness of citizens.”

The debate topic was a general statement reading, "Money can buy happiness" Not “Money can buy one happiness” or “Money can buy personal happiness” nor “Money can buy individual happiness”.

Being that our debate subject was of a more general nature. I have provided much more information opinion and discussion pertinent to the societal question of money and happiness. With the preponderance of the evidence pointing towards my original assertion that money will not buy happiness.

Thank you, LadyCool21 for all your time and effort. I especially want to thank LadyCool21 for backing off family as examples in this debate. Both my wife and Mother had cancer and this debate would have de-generated into who knows what if we had gone in that direction.

Now I believe it’s on to the judges to determine our fate.


posted on Jun, 17 2004 @ 01:34 PM
Good work folks. Will open the cloning tank and set our genetically engineered army of judges to work.

[edit on 18-6-2004 by Kano]

posted on Jun, 20 2004 @ 10:58 AM
The votes are in. Phoenix defeats LadyCool21 by a margin of 6-3. Well done to both competitors.

Judges Comments:

Very close debate all around. Excellent job by both. Phoenix really nailed it on research and semantics though.

I actually feel Phoenix is a victim of the topic title here, as he put up a great debate but I had to side with Lady in the end. As Lady proved right from the beginning money can buy you happiness, debate over right there really. Of course, and as Phoenix pushed earlier on, it's not he only thing that gets you hapiness but because of the topic title this point is irrelevant.
Phoenix's debating style nearly got me past this point so for that he must be commended, but Lady always had the upper hand.

Outstanding debate by both participants. I want to congratulate both for their efforts and time.

both did a really good job in this debate, but i'll have to vote for phoenix. i just liked his/her style of writing a bit more, and (s)he seemed to do a slightly better job conveying the point. though when it came down to posting dictionary definitions i found it to be slightly obnoxious.

A good debate. Congrats to LadyCool21 who presented a well constructed and thought out argument that nearly had me. But in the end, my vote has to go with Phoenix, as I felt that he had a more efficient and convincing approach to this topic.

This debate was very good and I'll start by telling you that it was very difficult to choose a winner. Both had good arguments, supporting links and interesting examples to support their side. The dispute around the exact interpretation of the topic didn't make judging easier. In the end I have to for Phoenix as the winner of the debate, because his distinction between happiness and pleasure and his good research made him a bit more convincing than LadyCool21.

Good luck to Phoenix in round 2.

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