Liian paljon rahaa – hyvää vaiko pahaa?

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Rahaa kannattaa tavoitella, ajattelevat monet. Eivätkä syyttä, onhan raha rahatalouteen perustuvassa järjestelmässä ainoa keino hankkia hyvinvointia materiaalisessa muodossa. Vaikka materia ei onnelliseksi tekisikään, on taloudellinen itsenäisyys yksi onnellisuuden ja hyvinvoinnin perusedellytyksistä. Kansainvälisessä vertailussa voidaan huomata selvä korrelaatio kansantalouden asukasta kohti lasketun bruttokansantuotteen ja sen kansalaisten onnellisuuden välillä. Tuoko raha siis onnea vai onko liika raha pahasta?

Selvää on ainakin, ettei raha itsessään tuo onnea, vaan on välinearvo jonkin muun onnellisuutta tuottavan asian saavuttamiseksi, jota voidaan puolestaan kutsua itseisarvoksi. Ellei sitten satu olemaan Roope Ankka, jolle onni on säiliöllinen rahaa, joissa voi kylpeä ja joita ihailla käyttämättä niitä lainkaan. Mikäli ajattelu viedään tarpeeksi pitkälle, voidaan myös todeta, että rahalla ostettavatkin asiat ovat vain välinearvoja tavoiteltaessa onnellisuutta, joka on ainoa todellinen itseisarvo. Onnellisuus on siis ainoa asia, joka on hyvä ja tavoiteltava vain itsensä takia eikä siksi, että sillä voitaisiin saavuttaa jotain.

Kyseinen ajatus on peräisin kreikkalaiselta filosofilta ja tiedemieheltä nimeltä Aristoteles, joka oli sitä mieltä, että onnellisuus on elämän päämäärä. Hän käytti onnellisuudesta nimitystä eudaimonia, joka ei ole vain itsekeskeistä materiaan perustuvaa onnellisuutta, vaan hyveellisyyteen pyrkivästä toiminnasta seuraava olotila, jossa ihminen on sopusoinnussa sekä itsensä että ympäristönsä kanssa. Hänen mukaansa ihmiset pyrkivät saavuttamaan onnellisuuden yleensä kolmella keinolla: nautinnolla, kunnialla ja osoittamalla järkevyyttä. Neljäntenä hän otti huomioon myös rahanteon, mutta hänen mukaansa se saa alkunsa välttämättömyydestä eikä pyrkimisestä onnellisuuteen. Kuitenkin tämä on juuri se asia, josta olemme kiinnostuneita.

Aristoteleen mukaan rahalla ei siis voida saavuttaa onnellisuutta, mutta jotta ihminen voisi olla onnellinen, tulee hänen perustavanlaatuiset materiaaliset tarpeensa olla tyydytetyt. Kyseessä on siis sama havainto, jonka teimme heti alussa: Onnellisuuden edellytys on tietyntasoinen materiaalinen hyvinvointi ja taloudellinen itsenäisyys, mutta sen mennessä yli tietyn tason ei se enää lisää onnellisuutta merkittävissä määrin. Kansainväliset onnellisuustutkimuksetkin vahvistavat havainnon: Pennsylvanian yliopiston taloustieteilijät Justin Wolfers ja Betsey Stevenson päätyivät vuonna 2008 tulokseen, että maan vaurastuminen lisää kansalaisten onnellisuutta, mutta hidastuvasti. Nousu köyhyydestä kohtuullisuuteen lisää siis onnellisuutta merkittävästi, mutta nousu kohtuullisuudesta yltäkylläisyyteen ei niinkään. Onnellisuustutkimuksissa on myös todettu tasaisen tulonjaon lisäävän hyvinvointia, minkä takia esimerkiksi pohjoismaalaiset ovat muita länsimaalaisia keskimäärin onnellisempia.

Aristoteleen etiikastakin löytyy yhtymäkohta näille havainnoille. mikko-salo-blogi.jpg Sen mukaan tullakseen onnelliseksi ihmisen tulee aina saavuttaa kultainen keskitie kahden ääripään välillä. Näin ollen esimerkiksi rohkeus on tasapainottelua pelkuruuden ja tyhmänrohkeuden välillä. Tästä voidaan tehdä suora johtopäätös, että omaisuuden määrässä sekä liika että niukkuus ovat pahasta.

Onko rikkauksien tavoittelu sitten väärin? Ei ainakaan, mikäli kyseessä on huonosti toimeentuleva, joka tavoittelee parempaa toimeentuloa. Rikkaan rikastuminen on puolestaan eettisesti arveluttavampaa, sillä se tapahtuu useammin muiden ihmisten ja ympäristön kustannuksella. Globaalissa mittakaavassa länsimaiden rikastuminen on johtanut kehitysmaiden ihmisten olojen kurjistumiseen sekä ympäristön saastumiseen. Kansantalouden rikastumisen myötä kasvavat useimmiten myös tuloerot. Yksilötasolla puolestaan kilpailuhenkiset ihmiset, jotka menestyvät työelämässä ja voivat hyvin näyttävät usein tavoittelevan rikastumista. Usein taustalla saattaa kuitenkin olla enemmän pyrkimys saavuttaa onnellisuutta muilla keinoilla: nautinnoilla, kunnialla ja osoittamalla järkevyyttä. Rahalla voi hankkia nautintoja, menestymällä saa osakseen kunniaa ja työssään pääsee usein osoittamaan järkevyyttä. Työ on siis merkittävä onnellisuuden lähde.

Loppupäätelmänä voisi siis olla, että tietyn tason jälkeen onnellisuus ei ole rahasta kiinni. Onnellisuutta tuottavat sen sijaan muun muassa mielekäs työ, harrastukset, terveys, tyydyttävä sosiaalinen elämä sekä oikeudenmukaisuuden ja rakastetuksi tulemisen tunne. Raha voi toki auttaa saavuttamaan näitä, mutta moni onnellisuuden peruspilareista on sellainen, jota ei voi rahalla saavuttaa, mutta joka puuttuessaan vie onnellisuudelta pohjan. Siitä huolimatta onnellisuus lisääntyy tiettyyn tasoon asti materiaalisten tarpeiden tullessa paremmin tyydytetyiksi, ja niiden täyttämiseen tarvitaan rahaa.

Mikko Salo

Kirjoittaja on kevään 2016 ylioppilas, joka suoritti lukio-opintoihinsa kuuluvan työharjoittelun Suomen Pankissa

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