Wanting makes us happier than having!

Great news for the environment bad, news for retail.

Interesting study from the University of Missouri that has studied the happiness effect from stuff and it has not surprisingly found that it is the anticipation from the possibility of ownership that makes us happy not ownership itself!

Treehugger posed that this could be why website such as pinterest are so popular. But more interestingly what would it mean for retail stores and shopping centres? How would a Westfield change if “shoppers” only ever come to do window shopping? And with the double impact of online retail what would the shopping centre or high street look like if we only come to pin our interest on a product and not buy it?

But great news for the environment. Rather than an accumulation of stuff we bought that we no longer want every product could be shared amongst many people’s wants.

Perhaps we will see a rise of Collaborative Wanting where we can share our wants? Maybe a successful product will be determined both by how desirable it is and by how few of them have been bought!

3 Comments on “Wanting makes us happier than having!

  1. Pingback: Convenience or adventure and happiness? – Simon Wild

  2. Reblogged this on ONEPLANET Sustainability Review and commented:
    What happens when we stop wanting? Contentment becomes possible, from a Buddhist perspective. It’s the wanting that causes suffering. The having also causes suffering when it’s an overprotective grasping that expects the having to last, and forgetting that everything changes and nothing is permanent. If we all stopped wanting stuff then we might start having only the things that are really necessary, and start becoming happier, or at least more content. Then we can focus on having the experiences and relationships that are really the generator of a real, meaningful kind of happiness.

    There are other studies and at least one talk on TED that suggest happiness lies elsewhere than stuff.

    Incidentally, how many shopping malls are there in Missouri?

  3. Hi Simon, thanks for this interesting diversion from the built environment, although its not far off the mark as I too think it’s important to understand some fundamentals of sociology to be a good, responsible professional. I’m a bit late commenting on this one, been in my queue…

    What happens when we stop wanting? Contentment becomes possible, from a Buddhist perspective. It’s the wanting that causes suffering. The having also causes suffering when it’s an overprotective grasping that expects the having to last, and forgetting that everything changes and nothing is permanent. If we all stopped wanting stuff then we might start having only the things that are really necessary, and start becoming happier, or at least more content. THEN we can focus on having the experiences and relationships that are truly the generator of a real, meaningful kind of happiness.

    There are other studies and at least one talk on TED that suggest happiness lies elsewhere than stuff.

    Incidentally, how many shopping malls are there in Missouri? It’s probably safe to assume there are more malls in the US than several western countries combined… And I understand malls are being received with mixed reactions by audiences in China, some being abandoned not long after opening. Sad for the investors, and raises some interesting questions about Chinese relationships with consumption and it’s associated psychology and sociology.

    Fascinating stuff.

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