## Is my happiness more important than your happiness? (egoism)

• 3k
Is there anything immoral with saying that my happiness is more important than your happiness?

Why should I care that you are happy?

Admittingly, helping others become happy and seeing other people happy tends to make me happy. But there is a difference between that and valuing other people's happiness more than your own.

What could possibly be more important than your own happiness?

There are some problems with this, though. Is egoism is correct, then it means that what is moral is only what makes YOU happy. Most of us would disagree with the assessment that a psycho killer taking pleasure in murdering others is moral because it gives the psycho happiness. However, we can work together if we realize that all of our personal happiness is threatened by this psycho and move to eliminate the threat from society. By co-operating, we achieve greater personal happiness.

But what if you encountered a homeless person on the street, passed out, while on your rushed way to work? Say this homeless person is super fat and you cannot lift him. You also have a disintegrator on you. From the egoism perspective, you would be morally obligated to disintegrate the homeless man because he is in your way and you aren't about to go around him.

All of us would say this is repugnant. But why is this? If it is moral and rational to act in your own self-interest, then why wouldn't you disintegrate the homeless man?
• 8.7k
Why should I care that you are happy?

Admittingly, helping others become happy and seeing other people happy tends to make me happy. But there is a difference between that and valuing other people's happiness more than your own.

What could possibly be more important than your own happiness?

Haven't you resolved the problem already? "...helping others become happy tends to make me happy." There you are.

Your hypothetical egoist's obligation to disintegrate the super-fat homeless person in order to clear her merry way to work doesn't add anything to the problem or the solution. It just takes us down a rabbit hole where we have to consider several absurd things before breakfast.

Egoism tells me we are responsible for our own happiness. Egoism is only somewhat right. "Somewhat right" because we must live in relationship with other people, and other people contribute to our happiness (or not) and we to theirs (or not). We are "obligate social beings". But Egoism is right in asserting that it is our job to manage our relationships, our interactions, our sense of wellbeing, in as much as we can -- which is something less than 100%.

Systems of morality arise out of our real natures, not absurd Never Never Land agents who are robotic egoists who ruthlessly pursue narrow goals, disintegrating fat people who get in the way. Our real natures are socially and psychologically interconnected. My or your individual happiness can't be separated out from the web of relationships we exist within.

A moral system worth anything will direct us to balance our and others' happiness. We can't morally have it all, and we can't morally deny ourselves everything, either. Why not? Because, maintaining our relationship to others (and maximizing happiness) is an essential moral task. One of the moral objections to suicide is that when you deny yourself everything (including life) you cause suffering and deny some measure of happiness to others with whom you are in relationship.

A moral system worth anything will also assume a certain degree of moral failure--the very thing that moral systems attempt to minimize. So, sure, we will have difficulty balancing everybody's separate needs and wants. And we will have difficulty controlling our own endless wants and wishes too.
• 11.8k
Is there anything immoral with saying that my happiness is more important than your happiness?

No. In one interpretation, the statement could be amoral. Just a description of what is the case, or perhaps implicitly a description of the speaker's own values, which could further be reduced to how the speaker feels.

On the other hand, one could take it to be indicative of something more: something prescriptive and morally relevant: that one ought to prioritise your happiness over theirs.

In either case, I think that "immoral" isn't the right word to use. I'd reply that I disagree, because I don't share those values, but I don't think that you'd be immoral for having them. On the contrary, it's perfectly understandable and relatable. Just as you value your happiness over mine, I value my happiness over yours. That's generally how we feel towards each other, with the exception of special relationships, like, say, a parent towards their child.

Why should I care that you are happy?

Again, in this case, if you're talking about you and I, then I think that it's more a matter of "do" and "don't", rather than "should" or "shouldn't". Either you care about whether or not I'm happy, or you don't. But even if you don't in the least bit care about whether or not I'm happy, I won't hold it against you, because my relation to you is such that I wouldn't be hurt or offended. I don't think that you're obliged to care about the happiness of every person, regardless. It's just not realistic.

In short, these matters are relative to circumstance.

I think the egoism of which you speak is too extreme to take seriously. Egoism makes sense to an extent, but brutal, unrestrained egoism is a different kettle of fish, and will of course be considered unacceptable to any half-decent human being with a conscience.

On a more personal note, I am at times egoistic, like countless others, and I'll even defend that -ism in certain situations, to an extent. For example, if I find something valuable which is likely to have been dropped by a stranger, and I think that there's a good chance I'll get away with nabbing it for myself at the expense of it's original owner, then I'm the sort of person that's inclined towards taking it. Attempted rebuttals along the lines of "But, what if the shoe was on the other foot?" don't work on me. The shoe has been on the other foot on more than a few occasions, and I relate more to the person that would've acted as I would than the "good Samaritan", so I don't blame them. Dog eat dog, every man for himself, etc.

There was a recent article on the cover of my local newspaper about a schoolboy who handed in a wallet containing about £200 to the local authorities, and it eventually found it's way back to it's owner. Happy ending? Did he do the "right" thing? My first thought was "You idiot!", and then I proceeded to scoff.
• 188
If it is moral and rational to act in your own self-interest, then why wouldn't you disintegrate the homeless man?

This is a far too simplistic view of rationality and self-interest. I have a plurality of values that I am self-interested in preserving, several of which comprise my reluctance to disintegrate obscenely fat homeless people so I have a clear path to walk. For instance, I value my personal freedom to the extent that I value not being in prison, so I might first of all make sure no police or people likely to snitch on me are around when I go about my disintegrating business. From my egoism perspective, I run a calculus of all my self-interests, short-term and long-term, and act accordingly, which may in fact involve a short-term harm (walking around the blob) if I believe it will yield a long-term personal gain (that pretty girl is watching and word is she frowns upon unnecessary disintegration). If you run your calculus and it comes out in favour of disintegrating fat people, you have probably made an error in your mental arithmetic, or you have self-destructive tendencies and will not function well in society.
• 4.7k
There is nothing rational about self interest.
• 11.8k
There is nothing rational about self interest.

Perhaps not per se, but it can be the motivation behind a rational pursuit, or be the subject of sound reasoning. Just like altruism.
• 8.7k
For example, if I find something valuable which is likely to have been dropped by a stranger, and I think that there's a good chance I'll get away with nabbing it for myself at the expense of it's original owner, then I'm the sort of person that's inclined towards taking it.

A few years ago a woman left her purse on a bench near where I was reading on campus. When I got ready to leave, I noticed it, and picked it up. It had a cell phone (2001, candy-bar type) a $100+, and some uninteresting odds and ends. I intended to take the$100, and toss the rest, but I felt very ambivalent: guilty, greedy, and several other contradictory emotions. I kept it for a week, thinking that I would feel better about claiming the $100. I didn't. So I dropped it off at the woman's office on campus. 15 years later I still feel annoyed about not claiming the$100.

Guilt and vague fear overcame greed. I didn't give it back because I cared about her feelings, I gave it back to get rid of guilt feelings. That's what childhood education is supposed to instill: a stiff code of behavior and a guilt mechanism that will last a lifetime. I did't refrain from theft out of any feeling of caring. Had that been the case, I would have returned the purse immediately.

If I were really a "good person" I wouldn't be feeling regret about giving up $100 15 years later. I wouldn't make a very good egoist. • 11.8k That's basically what I was getting at by restrained vs. unrestrained egoism. Most of us have restraints, such as guilt and shame, which prevent or impede us, for better or worse, from doing something egoistic. Shall we have another anecdote? Ok. I once found £10 on the floor at a shop I worked at. I quickly picked it up and put in my pocket, intending to keep it. I then got worried that I might get caught, and reasoned that the risk of losing my job outweighed the benefit of being £10 richer. I handed it in, and it mysteriously disappeared, i.e. stolen by another member of staff. Furthermore, I would have probably gotten away with keeping it, as the security was poor. What's the moral of the story? • 8.7k What's the moral of the story Practice makes perfect? It takes balls to be a success? I would say more, but one of the principles of successful crime is "Keep your mouth shut." Don't discuss the plan, don't discuss the heist, and don't discuss the haul. • 245 It's not immoral, it's just an unpleasant way to live. Narcissists tend to be miserable unhappy people. Giving really is better than receiving. Putting others interests ahead of one's own really is a more excellent way to live. This all assumes access to the necessities of life in the first place, and not a life and death competition for resources, as capitalism tends to promote. When people are trying to survive all morality goes out the window, and it's understandable that it does. • 11.8k You seem, for the most part, to be merely projecting your own subjective value judgements here, as if they're something more than that. You find it an unpleasant life, therefore it is an unpleasant life? Boo, narcissism! Yay, altruism! I'm sorry, but that's just not how it works. Perhaps you're right that, in general, narcissists tend to be "miserable, unhappy people", (although you haven't supported that assertion), but then narcissism wasn't exactly the topic of discussion. Narcissism isn't the same as egoism or self-interest. And for the record, I don't regard narcissism as virtue. But I can think of counterexamples to your claims, but I doubt that you'd accept them (not that that's necessary). You might think that, in general, an aid worker, for example, lives a more excellent life than a regular Joe, but I don't see that as necessarily true. It's noble and all, but I just don't think that that in itself makes it a better life. My life isn't worse off for all the times that I decided to spend my time and money self-interestedly rather than altruistically. On the contrary, much of it was time and money well spent. • 245 I'm not arguing that putting the interests of others ahead of one's own is noble or altruistic. I am saying it's a better way to live. It generates calmness and clarity and maturity. Those who are always out to get something for themselves act like children. They are comical, if not absurd. Their life is unexamined. In a pinch, with survival on the line, we all act that way (or better put who can blame somebody for acting that way). But that's hardly a life worth living. As to being a subjective judgment, it's certainly a judgment and it arises out of my life, but the OP asks for a judgment, so I'm not going to apologize for that. • 4.7k Perhaps not per se, but it can be the motivation behind a rational pursuit, or be the subject of sound reasoning. Just like altruism. Indeed. but it is worth pointing out that self interest is no more rational than altruism. The myth of rational self interest leads to much nonsense. As though assholery is somehow clever and decency foolish. • 11.8k I'm not arguing that putting the interests of others ahead of one's own is noble or altruistic. It's altruistic by definition. I am saying it's a better way to live. Yeh, I got that. But that's not necessarily true, nor true for everyone, all the time, regardless of context. Hence, I am replying that it's better for some, but not others. It generates calmness and clarity and maturity. Those who are always out to get something for themselves act like children. These are just crude characterisations. Evidently, altruism won't necessarily generate the outcome that you describe, because there are so many factors to take in to consideration, and only the right combination will produce that outcome. And it is possible, at times, to be more towards the egoistic end of the scale without jumping to extremes. That one, on balance, is more self-interested than selfless, doesn't entail that one is always out for themselves, comical, acts like a child, or is a psycho killer who'd disintegrate an obese homeless person without hesitation. What's comical are these characterisations. As to being a subjective judgment, it's certainly a judgment and it arises out of my life, but the OP asks for a judgment, so I'm not going to apologize for that. I didn't ask for an apology. An acknowledgment will suffice. I think it's more interesting to question the typical assumptions and characterisions which stem from traditional values than to simply spout them out. My main points are that these traditional values aren't set in stone, that there are exceptions/counterexamples, that deviation from these values doesn't necessarily mean that one is worse off, and that much of this is a subjective and relative matter. • 11.8k Indeed. but it is worth pointing out that self interest is no more rational than altruism. The myth of rational self interest leads to much nonsense. As though assholery is somehow clever and decency foolish. OK, then we agree. I think you're right that it's a misconception. Rationality, in this context, seems to boil down to whether or not one acts towards one's interests, whether that be self-interest or altruism. I think we naturally tend to judge others based on our own values, and that that can result in judging the other as foolish if they don't act in accord with our own values, like my initial reaction to someone handing in a valuable lost item, rather than keeping it for themselves. • 5.6k 15 years later I still feel annoyed about not claiming the$100.

Not to moralize here (ahem), but had you kept the $100, it would have been theft. There's a difference between keeping abandoned property (as in the person intentionally or through gross negligence gave the property away) and mislaid property (as in simple forgetfulness), especially where the owner of the mislaid property can be easily identified. Your perusal of her belongings was a bit suspect as well, not clearly being performed to simply to inventory them, but seemingly to assess their practical value to you. I can say that had I kept the$100 in your situation, I would have forever felt I had done wrong, not just in violating a general moral principle, but for having taken that person's rightful possession.

Years ago, I left my wallet on top of my car. It was eventually thrown from the car near an interstate exit ramp. I was out of town at the time. Someone saw the wallet as they were driving, stopped, got out in the street and got my wallet. They then called 411 (pre Google days) and found my father's phone number. He then called me at my hotel and we exchanged information and this person drove to my hotel with the wallet. He refused any reward.

Wouldn't you have rather have been that person than the sorry ass person you were when you thought about stealing that poor woman's stuff?

I
• 5.6k
I'm not arguing that putting the interests of others ahead of one's own is noble or altruistic. I am saying it's a better way to live. It generates calmness and clarity and maturity. Those who are always out to get something for themselves act like children. They are comical, if not absurd. Their life is unexamined.

Amen.
• 5.6k
OK, then we agree. I think you're right that it's a misconception. Rationality, in this context, seems to boil down to whether or not one acts towards one's interests, whether that be self-interest or altruism. I think we naturally tend to judge others based on our own values, and that that can result in judging the other as foolish if they don't act in accord with our own values, like my initial reaction to someone handing in a valuable lost item, rather than keeping it for themselves.

This assumes an ethical subjectivism, where right and wrong are simply personal preferences. As in, it's ok to take your stuff as long as I don't feel bad about it, and it's wrong to take your stuff it it's going to make me feel bad. If that is your position, then why limit it to the return of lost items? Why not simply say that it's ok to randomly punch someone in the face as long as you can live with your conscience and not ok to do that if it's going to cause you internal grief?

What I'm saying is that the mindless pursuit of self interest is in fact immoral and that showing concern and compassion for others is moral. Whether you want to define doing a moral act as rational or not is another matter, but it's entirely possible that rationality isn't the most critical guiding principle in distinguishing right from wrong. That is, if rape, robbery, and murder is my most rational course in some hypothetical situation, that hardly means I ought to do it from a moral perspective.
• 8.7k
Oh, I quite agree with everything you say here. By my own guidance, everything about it was as wrong as you say it was.

So, why do we turn from the strait and narrow path which we normally follow? We turn aside from moral behavior the same way we turn aside from sane behavior: our thinking becomes disordered.

Moral disorder isn't an excuse, it's a diagnosis. I regret disordered thinking, or disordered morality, but at the time, it is very persuasive. Delusions can be resisted (provided they do not grow too fast too far), whether that be cognitive or moral delusion.

"My happiness above all else" is the sort of delusional, or disordered thinking that can get out of hand and land us into a moral swamp.
• 11.8k
This assumes an ethical subjectivism, where right and wrong are simply personal preferences. As in, it's ok to take your stuff as long as I don't feel bad about it, and it's wrong to take your stuff it it's going to make me feel bad. If that is your position, then why limit it to the return of lost items? Why not simply say that it's ok to randomly punch someone in the face as long as you can live with your conscience and not ok to do that if it's going to cause you internal grief?

First of all, I don't agree that the comment of mine which you quoted assumes ethical subjectivism, although other comments that I've made in this discussion might well do. In that comment, I describe what I take rational behaviour to consist in, and I go on to talk about what I believe to be the basis in which we tend to judge others, namely in accordance with our own values. I don't think that that's controversial, and it doesn't rule out alternatives to ethical subjectivism.

My position is not the one described by you in the quote above. I wouldn't go that far. But I can relate to it somewhat on a personal basis. That is, I don't claim that right and wrong are simply personal preferences, but in ethical situations, personal preference can be a determining factor of my views, values and acts, and that is probably the case for many, many others as well.

I don't subscribe to ethical subjectivism as a normative view. I don't necessarily apply my own reasoning universally, i.e. to any subject in the same situation. Why would I? If I can randomly punch someone in the face and not lose much sleep over it (which couldn't be further from the truth, as it happens), that's one thing, but why project that universally?

If I didn't have the restraints that I do, then perhaps I would think that it's OK to punch, rob, rape, and murder, and perhaps I'd be in prison right now, but obviously that's not the case. And it's not just the fear of getting caught and punished which acts as a restraint, my conscience does so too. Given that I don't think that way, it'd make no sense for me to endorse others to do such things which offend my conscience.

Whether something is right or wrong is one thing, and whether something is a matter of conscience is another. They aren't necessarily the same thing, but often coincide. In practice, I tend to be guided more by my conscience - amongst other emotion-based influences - than abstract notions of right and wrong.

What I'm saying is that the mindless pursuit of self interest is in fact immoral and that showing concern and compassion for others is moral.

I don't think that anyone here has endorsed a mindless pursuit of self interest, so that is beside the point. On the contrary, I for one have already objected to what I called 'unrestrained egoism', which seems to be the same thing that you refer to above.

As for showing concern and passion for others, I wouldn't say that they're good in themselves, irrespective of context, but I don't deny that they can be moral. But I'm under no obligation to show concern or passion for others, and if I'm not as full of concern or as passionate as the next guy, then that doesn't necessarily mean that he lives a better or more excellent life than I do. More moral, perhaps, yes, but morality isn't the be-all and end-all in life, and neither for that matter is the law, to which it seems you attribute more authority and value, in the scheme of things, than I do. There can of course be laws which are unjust, or laws which are just, but are nonetheless worth breaking.

Whether you want to define doing a moral act as rational or not is another matter, but it's entirely possible that rationality isn't the most critical guiding principle in distinguishing right from wrong. That is, if rape, robbery, and murder is my most rational course in some hypothetical situation, that hardly means I ought to do it from a moral perspective.

I agree. And I'd go further than just noting the possibility that rationality isn't the most critical guiding principle in distinguishing right from wrong. It is more a matter of the heart than one of the head, in my view. Rationalisations are usually subsequent.
• 11.3k
This all assumes access to the necessities of life in the first place, and not a life and death competition for resources, as capitalism tends to promote. When people are trying to survive all morality goes out the window, and it's understandable that it does.
Eastern European peasants are some of the most moral (and happy!) people I have ever met. A struggle for food, within reasonable limits, is good. The problem for Western, developed societies is that life is too easy - hence people show their real, immoral nature. That's why the US's divorce/marriage ratio is 53%. That's why US is the most depressed country in the world. That's why suicide rates are at 15 per 100,000 population. Because life is so darn easy. People can only do immoral things when life is easy. I am not religious, but the people who wrote the Bible were right: "blessed are the meek".

Nature made life to be hard and difficult. Man cannot adjust to an easy life. Man was made to toil and work hard. This "when people are trying to survive all morality goes out the window" and of course it's capitalism's fault, is nonsense. All through history most people were just trying to survive, and most people were quite moral, by the standards of their day. So clearly the struggle for survival alone cannot be the cause of immorality.

Comfort is the cause of immorality. When people are comfortable, with all their needs met, they dream the most treacherous of things - the most vain and selfish desires - they desire lots of alcohol, lots of drugs, lots of new highs. They can never get enough - and this you probably call moral - because it doesn't harm anyone (except of course the do-er of the deed). But of course, at the end of the day, the peasant laughs - he doesn't understand any of this - and he spends all his day working - but he's happy.
• 11.8k
The problem for Western, developed societies is that life is too easy - hence people show their real, immoral nature. That's why the US's divorce/marriage ratio is 53%. That's why US is the most depressed country in the world. That's why suicide rates are at 15 per 100,000 population. Because life is so darn easy.

I don't get how you go from those statistics to the supposed cause being immorality, which in turn, you say, is a result of an easy life. What's the supposed link between high divorce, depression, and suicide rates, on the one hand, and immortality and an easy life, on the other? Seems farfetched. People don't suffer depression, or go to the extreme of committing suicide because life is easy, nor is main cause immorality or the perception thereof. The main cause, I'll hazard to guess, can include perceived hardship, sadness, and a sense of hopelessness.

People can only do immoral things when life is easy.

Claptrap.

Comfort is the cause of immorality. When people are comfortable, with all their needs met, they dream the most treacherous of things - the most vain and selfish desires... [etc., etc.]

Quite right. Which is of course why, for example, the most prominent, perhaps the most brutal, and extremely immoral, terrorist organisation in present times - ISIS - stem from comfy ol' Syria, where they live a cozy, trouble-free life of luxury. And that also explains why the country with the highest murder rate in the world is Honduras: one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere, with 50% of the population below the poverty line in 2010.

I could go on...
• 245
It's altruistic by definition.

No, it's a practice. Altruism is a belief.
• 245
Eastern European peasants are some of the most moral (and happy!) people I have ever met. A struggle for food, within reasonable limits, is good.

Thank you Mr. Pastoral Romantic.

I'm glad you've arranged your life to struggle for food. Wait, you haven't.
• 245
My main points are that these traditional values aren't set in stone, that there are exceptions/counterexamples, that deviation from these values doesn't necessarily mean that one is worse off, and that much of this is a subjective and relative matter.

My view isn't traditional at all and I'm not invoking any traditional moral view. I don't think that putting the interests of others is noble, or altruistic, or gets you to heaven. I thinks it's a more excellent way to live, conducive to the examined life. In contrast, a self-serving life seems totally unexamined to me.

My interest here is existential, not moral, per say. Or rather, a morality that derives from an existential evaluation of what it means to have a meaningful life. I honestly feel sorry for self-involved people even as they rub me the wrong way.
• 245
Comfort is the cause of immorality.

I'm glad you agree we should disabuse the rich of their comfort for their own good.
• 245
Yeh, I got that. But that's not necessarily true, nor true for everyone, all the time, regardless of context. Hence, I am replying that it's better for some, but not others.

I think it is true at all times for all people; it's just not possible when competition for resources is such that people struggle to survive. I don't blame people for the meanness of their existence when survival is at stake (I've been there within the confines of western economics); but I do recognize it is mean.

Are you actually denying that, and like poor Agustino engaging in the romantic view that struggle is ennobling? I hope not.
• 11.8k
No, it's a practice. Altruism is a belief.

If you google "altruism" you'll find that the common definition includes both, but I'll just use a synonym instead.

My view isn't traditional at all...

Sure it is. Your view is that it's good to be selfless, that it's better to be selfless than egoistic, and that being selfless will reap rewards (you'll be happier, more excellent, live a better life, obtain better qualities). You don't get much more traditional than that. It goes as far back, at least, to the teachings of Jesus, and also relates to the ethics of Plato's Republic regarding whether it's better to be just or unjust.

As for the supposed causal link between selflessness/egoism and an examined/unexamined life, respectively - I don't see it. I suspect that that's because it isn't there. It isn't so black and white as you're making out. It's naive to view it as such, as clear virtue/vice. There are grey areas. It's a scale, rather than two separate extremes. Getting the right balance and proportion, in context, is more important than simply seeking one extreme or the other, which can be misguided. I think that this view has something in common with Aristotle, with his Golden mean.

My interest here is existential, not moral, per say. Or rather, a morality that derives from an existential evaluation of what it means to have a meaningful life.

I don't buy that. I reckon that it's the other way around, in that you set out your "investigation" with moral-tinted glasses, and predictably reach the conclusion that a "meaningful life" coincides with your pre-held values.

I think it is true at all times for all people; it's just not possible when competition for resources is such that people struggle to survive. I don't blame people for the meanness of their existence when survival is at stake (I've been there within the confines of western economics); but I do recognize it is mean.

Are you actually denying that, and, like poor Agustino, engaging in the romantic view that struggle is ennobling? I hope not.

The only part that I'm rejecting as false is your claim that it's true at all times for all people. (That is, "To be selfless is to live a better life" or something similarly worded to that effect).

I understand and acknowledge that people struggling to survive aren't likely to prioritise morality. The starving child that steals a loaf of bread from a relatively well-off baker is excused in my book. But, again, a sophisticated view will take context into consideration. Whether or not an act typically considered to be immoral is excusable given the circumstances will depend upon those circumstances. The struggle to survive typically won't excuse rape, for example.
• 5.6k
Eastern European peasants are some of the most moral (and happy!) people I have ever met.
This is useless information. I don't mean that in a mean way; it's just that your personal assessment of the folks you've met is pretty irrelevant.
That's why the US's divorce/marriage ratio is 53%.
The US isn't in the top 10 among nations with the highest divorce rates. In fact, the top 4 are all Eastern European countries. http://www.mapsofworld.com/world-top-ten/countries-with-highest-divorce-rate-map.html . Divorce in the US is most highly correlated with poverty, lack of education, and early age of marriage. <a href="http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-myth-of-the-high-rate-of-divorce/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-myth-of-the-high-rate-of-divorce/</a>

That's why US is the most depressed country in the world.
Do you not have Google on your computer? https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/11/07/a-stunning-map-of-depression-rates-around-the-world/ The correlation between depression and poverty appears to be directly related, with Eastern Europe fairing poorly. The US is not on the list of the most depressed nations. Your use of the US as the best example of wealth is also flawed. The Scandanavian nations tend to have higher per capita wealth, yet often fair the best in terms of happiness. You'll note that the happiest nations on this list are all wealthy Western European countries. http://www.businessinsider.com/new-world-happiness-report-2015-2015-4
That's why suicide rates are at 15 per 100,000 population.
The US is 50th in suicide rate. They are far behind many Eastern European nations, and many non-Western Asian nations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate You're spouting off incorrect figures in an effort to make your dubious claim that there is a relationship between comfort and immorality.
Comfort is the cause of immorality. When people are comfortable, with all their needs met, they dream the most treacherous of things - the most vain and selfish desires - they desire lots of alcohol, lots of drugs, lots of new highs.
Eastern Europe dominates the world in terms of alcohol consumption per capita. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_alcohol_consumption_per_capita

All of this is just to point out two things (1) you've done no research and have misstated all the relevant facts related to your argument, and (2) poverty does not lead to morality, happiness, and a good, solid life.

Poverty creates all sorts of challenges, many of which lead to failed relationships, drug and alcohol abuse, crime, violence, teenage pregnancy, reduced education, depression, and general hopelessness. There may be a certain vacuousness to the lives of the rich and famous, but no one really believes that those lives are more difficult than those residing in public housing.
• 11.8k
Augustino's argument has been well and truly demolished, I'd say. :D
• 11.3k
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemiology_of_depression#cite_note-17 - regarding depression Hanover :)

US - number 1 in the world!
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