The European currency features buildings that didn't exist, until Spijkenisse made them in concrete
- The euro banknotes feature seven different bridges – all of them fictional.
- They represent periods instead of places, so as not to offend anyone.
- But one Dutch town has turned monetary fiction into monumental fact.
Wonderful subcategory<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTg2NzE3Ni9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MDI0ODIxNX0.xCnmgv8Ust3ZrJkglWsA9b8xyvE0_8L6xLNL9fLOQLY/img.png?width=980" id="faa4e" width="1697" height="1019" data-rm-shortcode-id="5606b37f0da6cfeed52864fef23d144e" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Go to the end of this street to find Heartbreak Hotel.
Credit: Google Street View<p>In topography, there's a wonderful subcategory of places that existed first in the imagination before they materialized on the map. Examples range in size from the New York landmark of <em>Agloe</em>, a tiny map trap that accidentally became real (see #<a href="https://bigthink.com/strange-maps/643-agloe-the-paper-town-stronger-than-fiction" target="_blank">643</a>) to the huge country of <em>Pakistan</em>, one man's dream turned into a home for millions (see #<a href="https://bigthink.com/strange-maps/647-purist-among-the-pure-the-forgotten-inventor-of-pakistan" target="_blank">647</a>).</p><p>For an example at the intersection of lyrical and whimsical, book a stay at <em>Heartbreak Hotel</em>. It's in Memphis, right across from Elvis Presley's Graceland mansion. The King of Rock 'n Roll had a hit with that title back in 1956. Today, as in the song, you'll find the hotel down at the end of <em>Lonely Street</em>. <br></p>
Brightly-colored bridges<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTg2NzE4Mi9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3NDUxNzQ2OX0.MozsLMxLfkaHE9hnal_uHkSkp_WdH-XQcqAw2FVM1NU/img.png?width=980" id="5a47f" width="1627" height="1243" data-rm-shortcode-id="005f95375654b439d4ca4a984e79b33f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The euro bridges were designed to be transnational – but now they're all Dutch.
Credit: Google Maps, ECB (Graphics: Ruland Kolen)<p>And then there's the otherwise unassuming Dutch town of Spijkenisse, where you can take a walk across seven brightly-colored bridges which until recently only existed on banknotes.</p><p>You might recognize those bridges. If you've ever handled euro notes, you'll have seen them on the reverse of each of the seven denominations. Those bridges, however, <em>are not real</em>. Unlike other currencies, which often double as patriotic pamphlets and/or tourist teasers, the euro notes do not feature real-life landmarks or real-dead Europeans.</p><p>That would have involved favoring some countries and leaving out others, and in a multinational endeavor like the pan-European currency, that was a definite no-no.</p><p>So, what to do? It's a problem that had to be solved relatively recently, as the euro is the youngest of the world's major currencies. The look of the euro notes can be traced back to a European Council meeting in Dublin on December 13, 1996, when the European Monetary Institute (the precursor of today's European Central Bank) announced the winner of its competition to design the euro notes. <br></p>
44 contenders<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTg2NzE5NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzODU2ODM2Nn0.Luz8lUgmVKVhmINbq4Obez8UNfHMGIcMuDcKso4Cr58/img.jpg?width=980" id="fa7b9" width="4160" height="3120" data-rm-shortcode-id="035dae1bbc427c28285eb2266be1bee1" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The five-euro bridge: Classical, and dirt-grey.
Credit: ScWikiSc, CC BY-SA 4.0<p>The prize went to Robert Kalina, a designer with the National Bank of Austria. His 'Ages and Styles of Europe' was chosen from among 44 contenders. Mr Kalina had some form in the matter. All Austrian banknotes from 1982 onwards were by his hand, as were notes he later designed for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Azerbaijan, and Syria.</p><p><span></span>Mr Kalina's euro designs scrupulously avoided any allusion to particular people or places, referring merely to abstract, supra-national style periods. The obverse of each note shows a window and a doorway, symbolizing Europe's spirit of openness. Each reverse shows a bridge, exemplifying communication and cooperation, both between the countries of Europe and between Europe and the rest of the world.</p><p>The architectural style of each note progresses chronologically as the value of the denomination increases. Most also feature a color from the rainbow spectrum. <br></p>
The Elements<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTg2NzIwMC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyOTk4OTUxN30.htp--K1OCBp8xASxZ6w_ZrDIgCxuGvrq7umvKNsYpks/img.jpg?width=980" id="a8738" width="3410" height="3120" data-rm-shortcode-id="dc8f4541e78eb0ccc1bfc80d4237ccf6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The ten-euro bridge, Romanesque in style and red in color.
Credit: ScWikiSc, CC BY-SA 4.0<ul><li>€5: Classical (as this was to be the most widely used note, grey was chosen to mask the dirt)</li><li>€10: Romanesque (red)</li><li>€20: Gothic (blue)</li><li>€50: Renaissance (orange)</li><li>€100: Baroque and Rococo (green)</li><li>€200: 19th century Industrial (yellow)</li><li>€500: 20th century Modern (purple)</li></ul><span></span><p>These euro bridges would have remained fictional, were it not for Robin Stam. The Rotterdam-based artist got the idea of turning financial fiction into architectural fact in a pizza place, while fiddling with a euro note. "Suddenly it struck me how amazing it would be if these fictional bridges came to life," he said.</p><p>Mr Stam found a willing partner for his idea in the city council of Spijkenisse, his hometown, a suburb of Rotterdam. The plan was to build seven euro bridges across a canal that almost entirely surrounds an area called <em>De Elementen</em> ('The Elements'). <br></p>
Letter of approval<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTg2NzIxNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzOTIwMzU2MH0.t2rEc1-fh3pjQInANyomqNYJwJ4uvcTefS8oOj6fTDc/img.jpg?width=980" id="b7fbe" width="4160" height="3120" data-rm-shortcode-id="309ff802d625d7b8af64d90f9d5ab3d2" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Gothic blue: the twenty-euro bridge
Credit: ScWikiSc, CC BY-SA 4.0<p>But before he got started, Mr Stam felt he needed the blessing of the European Central Bank. The euro notes scrupulously avoid favoring one member state over the other, but Mr Stam's euro bridges would all be in one country – the Netherlands. Would the ECB mind? Mr Stam sent them a letter. But he needn't have feared: out of Frankfurt came a kind reply with an official letter of approval. "Their main concern is counterfeiting. And you can't pay with a bridge," says the artist.</p><p>And so, 'The Bridges of Europe' got underway. Funded by the city and aided by local contractors, all seven bridges were installed between October 2011 and September 2013. They all preserve the color and shape of the 'originals'. All were made of concrete except the two most recent styles (€200 and €500 notes), which were made out of steel. In all the project cost around €1 million to complete. <br></p>
"Kitschy facade"<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTg2NzI0Ni9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MDg3Njc5NX0.I-jDQ-capuU2tbsQFZffhQjL2BnaHE9lFRcCQdgd-CQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="9c863" width="4160" height="3120" data-rm-shortcode-id="114f4a3e85684e4775625d0a359ff698" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
The fifty-euro bridge, in Renaissance orange.
Credit: ScWikiSc, CC BY-SA 4.0<p>However, the euro bridges of Spijkenisse are not as monumental as their depiction on the notes suggests. In fact, they're pedestrian in more than one sense. Mr Kalina, who first drew the fictional bridges, while amused by the project, has said he would have liked the bridges to be built in the style in which each was designed, instead of their appearance being used as a "kitschy façade." So, it's perhaps more appropriate to call them 'follies', but then many have said the same about the euro itself.</p><p><span></span>From 2013 onwards, a second series of euro notes was published. This 'Europa' series–named after the Greek goddess who is watermarked into the notes–is a redesign by the German banknote designer Reinhold Gerstetter, who wanted the notes to be "more colorful, so they would appear friendlier". </p>
Useful to criminals<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTg2NzI3OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NDc2NjI3Nn0.ayivHSy-QR14sW9xVQp2GUdJiVqq65RlfeG5ldHUDaY/img.jpg?width=980" id="28d36" width="4160" height="3120" data-rm-shortcode-id="14a60641e46c05cc61ff24aa38c6b8fc" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
If it's Baroque/Rococo and green, it must be the one-hundred-euro bridge.
Credit: ScWikiSc, CC BY-SA 4.0<p>The basic design of the first series, including the colors and bridges, has been maintained, with one notable exception. The Europa series no longer features a €500 note, out of concern that it appeared to be more useful to criminals than to law-abiding citizens.<br></p><p><span></span>The reason is its exceptionally high value. True, Switzerland has a 1,000-franc note (app. € 900, or US$ 1,075), but the euro is the only major currency to have a note this valuable. Compare the US dollar, which has the $100 bill as its highest denomination.</p><p>Because it is so valuable and was so relatively widespread, the €500 bill is ideal for transferring large amounts of money in a compact volume of notes. Turns out that quality was greatly appreciated by money launderers, drug smugglers, and tax dodgers.<br></p>
'Bin Ladens'<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTg2NzI1My9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNzkwNTM5MH0.U3a46zNDsbvvopue8ebjn64W2jexO4Tyfk6TD1wrTpA/img.jpg?width=980" id="82bb1" width="4160" height="3120" data-rm-shortcode-id="e9267e65de995bdf7f1942a91cdb7c4b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Industrial and yellow – the two-hundred-euro bridge
Credit: ScWikiSc, CC BY-SA 4.0<p>The notes soon acquired the nickname 'Bin Ladens' because, despite their notoriety, they were rarely seen in public. One examination by the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency noted 90% of the €500 bills distributed in the U.K. were in the hands of criminal organisations, who liked the note because it made it easier to launder money (the highest British denomination is £50). For that reason, the U.K. <em>Bureaux de Change</em> stopped trading €500 notes in 2010.</p><p>Old €500 notes will remain legal tender forever, as will other notes from the first series; but they will gradually be taken out of circulation. Spijkenisse for its part has as yet no plans to demolish the €500 bridge.</p><p><strong>Strange Maps #1075</strong></p><p><em>Got a strange map? Let me know at </em><a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a><em>.</em><br></p><p><em><em>Follow Strange Maps on <a href="https://twitter.com/FrankJacobs" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Twitter</a> and on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/VeryStrangeMaps" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Facebook</a>.</em></em></p>
Purple and modern, like the 'Bin Laden' note beloved by criminals: the five-hundred-euro bridge.
Credit: ScWikiSc, CC BY-SA 4.0
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It's insidious and destructive, but there are some things you can do to develop a healthier relationship with material things.
De-programming your mind<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTgxNDI5OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyOTQ0NzQxNn0.P94Dsn6w_tcDmXvLdVN9BVR59Ghcc5_HUHCpDFYRKHg/img.jpg?width=980" id="7a48d" width="1440" height="960" data-rm-shortcode-id="25d42b2acc8aef4dc816c6fde6adf558" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: Joshue Earle/Unsplash<p><span style="background-color: initial;"><a href="https://www.inc.com/author/jessica-stillman" target="_blank">Jessica Stillman</a></span>, writing for <a href="https://www.inc.com/jessica-stillman/3-tips-to-tame-your-materialism-and-be-happier.html" target="_blank">Inc.com</a>, suggests three steps to take to shift your perspective back to sanity as you wend your way through a materialist world.</p><p><strong>1. Get mindful about advertising</strong></p><p>Face it: You're surrounded. On TV, in apps, on web pages, on the streets, it's everywhere. People want you to buy their products. You may be able to minimize the impact of this 360-degree brainwashing by taking conscious note of your exposure to it. Stillman suggests that you can gain a better appreciation of its insidious effect—and build up resistance—by listing every ad to which you're exposed for four days. Spoiler alert: It's going to be a lot of writing and a jaw-dropper.</p><p><strong>2. Inventory your actual values</strong></p><p>Take a time-out to thoughtfully write out all the things you really consider important, such as loved ones, feeling healthy, and so on. Don't be disappointed if the list seems trite. These things are often cited as having value because they really do. Want to be happier? Consider the acquisition of these things your new goal.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city." — George Burns</em></p><p>Take a moment to explore whether your behavior lines up with these things, and consider how it might.</p><p><strong>3. Track your spending</strong></p><p>No, we're not talking about budgeting yourself so much as having a look at where your money is going. Is it being spent on helping you attain your real goals? Or are you buying things to impress others or keep up with what others around you may have so you don't feel like a loser?</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;"><em>"Every time I feel lame, I'm looking up." — </em><a href="https://youtu.be/KIYiGA_rIls" target="_blank"><em>Sheryl Crow</em></a></p>
This is how you’re being manipulated<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTgxNDMxMS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MDc5NTU0OX0.m3aGSEnnuk3f4RqB3dfYsOQuDzQNbwjp6vcu_LLnyVU/img.jpg?width=980" id="4e03c" width="1440" height="960" data-rm-shortcode-id="388f7b4cd65b2be968ebe7df63a0101b" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: fran_kie/Adobe Stock<p>Leo Babauta <a href="https://zenhabits.net/a-guide-to-escaping-materialism-and-finding-happiness/" target="_blank">digs down a bit deeper</a> into the whole brainwashing thing.</p><p>He recommends stepping away from activities in which many of us engage by default and which keep us up to our eyeballs in ads. He warns about over-consumption of TV, the news, internet blogs, magazines as opposed to books, frequent trips to the mall or superstores, and keeping watch on the buying impulses they trigger.</p><p>Babauta suggests a 30-day test you can use to identify the things you might not really need. Ask yourself, "If I had to wait 30 days to buy this, would I still want it?" He also proposes the consideration of buying things used — is it the "shiny new" aspect you covet, or the thing itself?</p><p>Finally, there's a Zen beauty in the simpler, de-cluttered home you can get by getting rid of possessions that don't give you joy, as <a href="https://bigthink.com/personal-growth/marie-kondo" target="_blank">Marie Kondo</a> says. Things you really don't care about serve as examples that can stay your hand when you're considering buying more, well, junk in the cosmic scheme of things.</p>
Refocus your principles<img class="rm-lazyloadable-image rm-shortcode" type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTgxNDMxNy9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MDk1ODIwNX0.sHGhg-JiD0HT_VeUFn5DaXVPBWcH2oKApzOpjP08j8U/img.jpg?width=980" id="37c73" width="1440" height="1152" data-rm-shortcode-id="d5733d804d3c6c62cbb1ae70075f3ff3" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Credit: Faye Cornish/Unsplash<p>Author <a href="https://www.scotthyoung.com" target="_blank">Scott H. Young</a> has compiled a list of <a href="https://www.scotthyoung.com/blog/2007/08/15/14-tips-for-a-less-materialistic-livestyle/" target="_blank">14 concepts and activities</a> you should consider as you look to overcome materialism in your life. (Check out the original article for further details.)</p><ol><li><em>You aren't the things1 you own</em> — Your value is in who you are and what you do, not what stuff you've amassed.</li><li><em>Relationships are about doing, not having</em> — Being in a relationship is a state of being. You haven't acquired, nor do you own, the other person.</li><li><em>Create a system of goals and challenges</em> — Since materialism steps in when there's a void to fill, find yourself some worthwhile goals to occupy that empty space.</li><li><em>Serve</em> — Want to feel good about yourself? There's no better way than doing something good for someone else. It's the best selfish secret there is.</li><li><em>Trash it </em>— We've mentioned the value in decluttering above. Clear away crap you don't care about.</li><li><em>See wealth as a challenge not a result</em> — As Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert told <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2006/HEALTH/conditions/11/10/happiness.overview/" target="_blank">CNN</a> in 2006, research indicates, "By and large, money buys happiness only for those who lack the basic needs. Once you pass an income of $50,000, more money doesn't buy much more happiness." (The figure's likely a bit higher in 2021.)</li><li><em>Experience over objects</em> — These's nothing more valuable than the precious time that keeps whizzing by. Are you spending this rarest of possessions well?</li><li><em>Build intangible assets</em> — It makes a lot more sense to invest in becoming a smarter, better person than focusing on material goods.</li><li><em>Use money to free, not chain, yourself </em>— Once you've got enough to meet your true needs, you're done. Becoming obsessed with getting more and more money is nothing more than a trap that keeps you from more valuable pursuits.</li><li><em>Go basic</em> — If you live a bit less extravagantly, you'll buy yourself slack to mentally relax. Simpler <em>can</em> be easier, you know.</li><li><em>Avoid the status game</em> — Cultivate a personal community of people from a variety of economic brackets so you're not so tempted to compare.</li><li>Judge yourself by your ethics and your understanding — If you need to judge yourself at all, consider the kind of person you are, and how well you're achieving your ethical goals. It's not about what the world thinks of you: It's what <em>you</em> know about yourself.</li><li><em>Let go</em> — Yes, you live in a material world, but you also live in a spiritual one, regardless of whether or not you're the religious type. Guess which one makes you happier.</li><li><em>You can't take it with you</em> — When you're tossing out stuff, make sure to lose the "He who has the most stuff when he dies wins" t-shirt. It's hard to imagine that in your last moments you'll be thinking about that flatscreen and not the experiences you've had and the people you've loved and who've made you feel loved.</li></ol>
Do it for your mental health<p>Scientific American <a href="https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-let-go-of-materialism/" target="_blank">reports</a> on the largest study ever on the impact or rampant materialism on individuals. It found that shifting one's focus away from money and things and toward intrinsic goals leads to greater contentment. One of its authors, psychology professor <a href="https://www.knox.edu/academics/faculty/kasser-tim" target="_blank">Tim Kasser</a>, explains, "Intrinsic goals tend to be ones that promote greater well-being and act as a kind of 'antidote' to materialistic values."</p><p>If you're reading this, you're probably already thinking about materialism in your life. You're not alone in being concerned, and you may be able to find other people you know with whom you can work make a change in your lives. "It is important to find some like-minded folks who want to join you in shifting away from materialism," <a href="https://sci-hub.se/10.1038/scientificamericanmind0714-17c" target="_blank">says Kasser</a>. "They are out there, I promise."</p>
A study of 1.6 million people ties high incomes with more positive emotions and fewer negative ones, but only towards the self.
- A review of data from 1.6 million people shows that higher incomes relate to more positive feelings about the self.
- Feelings towards others were not affected by higher incomes.
- The findings have implications for those hoping to improve society by raising incomes alone.
Perhaps there is a reason why Scrooge didn't start off caring about other people.<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rR5gViXEOxo" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> While people consistently reported increasingly positive self-regarding emotions as their incomes rose, their stances towards other people didn't change much. </p><p>Other-regarding emotions, which can refer to specific people, groups of people, or humankind in general, can include familiar feelings like gratitude, love, compassion, or anger. To the authors' surprise, the data they reviewed showed little to no relationship between increasing incomes and positive or negative other-regarding emotions. As Dr. Tong <a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210304100351.htm" target="_blank">explained</a>: </p><p>"Having more money doesn't necessarily make a person more compassionate and grateful, and greater wealth may not contribute to building a more caring and tolerant society."</p><p>While some of the studies reviewed suggested a positive relationship between income and positive other-regarding emotions, the mixed results mean that no association can be confirmed.</p>
What are the implications of this?<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UEsK7hpIkVI" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p> Dr. Tong summarized the findings' implications for <a href="https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2021/03/higher-income-pride-confidence" target="_blank">policymakers</a>:</p><p> "Policies aimed at raising the income of the average person and boosting the economy may contribute to emotional well-being for individuals. However, it may not necessarily contribute to emotional experiences that are important for communal harmony." </p><p>On a more personal level, these findings remind us that money isn't everything but that it is something. Dr. Tong remarked:</p><p> "The effects of income on our emotional well-being should not be underestimated. Having more money can inspire confidence and determination while earning less is associated with gloom and anxiety."</p><p>The parts of the study focusing on self-control as a mediator also tied to other studies suggesting that autonomy is good for people.</p><p>A recent study on the matriarchal culture of the <a href="https://bigthink.com/culture-religion/matriarchy-mosuo-health" target="_blank">Mosuo people</a> shows that the women living in villages where they weld power over their own lives are healthier than other Mosuo women living in patriarchal villages. While the study didn't suggest that no health issues existed in these societies, it did note improvements in comparison to others. </p><p>Like any other study, this one was not perfect, and there are reasons you should take these findings with a little salt.</p><p>This study was correlational and cannot prove causation. It could be the case that some unknown factor connects higher incomes with these positive emotions, for example. Further studies will be needed to demonstrate causation. Additionally, while the effect was noteworthy and consistent in countries on every continent and of all economic development levels, the effect was not massive. The findings do not suggest that higher income levels are a silver bullet effective against all negative self-regard. </p><p>Even with those caveats, this study's findings are an important improvement on the previous literature on this subject. While the connection between income and self-regard is limited, it is significant enough to suggest that millions of people's emotional states can be improved by focusing on their finances, even if that won't be enough to build a caring society for them to live in.</p><p> Of course, at that point, they might be well off and self-assured enough not to mind as much, but that's another problem.</p>
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