Its Not InSane But Its Unhappy To Be Poor


It is the Maddening of America and hardly a joyous read I can assure you.

The article suggests, based on extensive studies, that “as many as 20% of American adults may be severely mentally ill. In view of disputes over the significance of available data, let’s assume that only 10% of American adults are severely mentally ill. As these conditions are presumed to be distributed uniformly within the population, they must afflict a significant share of policymakers, corporate executives, educators, and military personnel of all ranks, recurrently rendering them psychotic, delusional, and deprived of sound judgment.”

However the statistic I found most interesting is this.

“Southeast Asian countries appear to be especially immune to the bane of severe mental illness; in other regions, poverty, or lack of development, seems to offer a protective barrier.”

Can they be sure ?

The argument is that insanity is cultural in origin albeit the poverty reason.


To be poor is to be unhappy as well.

“Above a rather low level of income (enough to satisfy basic needs), Easterlin found no correlation between happiness and GNP per head.”

This is a 1974 study mentioned in another article, Happiness Is Equality.

More surprising is that “another finding has also started to influence the current debate on growth: poor people within a country are less happy than rich people. In other words, above a low level of sufficiency, peoples’ happiness levels are determined much less by their absolute income than by their income relative to some reference group.”

To be poor is relative but poverty is not. To be poor, you need a benchmark against what is rich. Poverty is a different story in itself. It is the absence of basic needs.

Thus you can be poor but not be impoverished if there are enough people who are “ultra rich”. That leads to the poor being unhappy even if they are not impoverished. It is the gap that matters.

That sounds a bit like Singapore and America too. (Actually, Singapore’s GINI is higher than America’s).

Inequality is the main driver of being poor. You can be a poor millionaire in Singapore too. And that is the main reason for all those surveys that show that Singaporeans are one of the most discontented lot in the world (as usual, always trying to top in everything).

We have to stick to America’s example because most of the research is done on American society described as “a society cleaved between a sliver of haves reaping ever-fatter rewards and hordes of have-nots who haven’t had a shot at a better life in at least a decade.”

If we go by the Equality debate, then many Americans must be unhappy.

“A research paper released Monday found that some moms’ reactions to the 2007-09 recession included shouting more at their kids and even taking aggressive action, such as yanking or spanking them.”

And insane.

And what if, just what if, the US leaders are insane and the people are unhappy. That is a recipe for disaster.

Related articles :

Why Are Singaporeans Sad ? They Are Not Rich Enough ! (

Singapore – Wealth Worship : (

WEALTH – The Fallacy Of Singapore Property. Written For My Friends. : (